Two Neocons Solving the Worlds Problems

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Thinking Out Loud

John Podhoretz is no longer holding back his opinion of the Killian memos:

The documents aren't just forgeries, they're bad, blatant, ludicrous forgeries. They're forgeries so easily detected that in the space of a few hours after CBS released computer photographs of them on the Internet, they had already been pegged and deconstructed.
So, how in the world did the forger expect to get away with it? Rich at "Shot Across the Bow" has an interesting theory.

His idea is that some Clinton loyalist within the Kerry campaign concocted the poorly forged documents, passed them to their willing accomplices in the press, knowing that they would be quickly discredited once reported. This would lead back to the Kerry campaign, which would sabotage Kerry in time for Hillary to be Torricellied in for 2004.

Rich has Rather knowingly sacrificing the short time he has left in his career for the benefit of Hillary.

This is a fascinating theory, but I've got doubts. First, I don't think Rather would sacrifice his legacy even for a political party he believes in. I think Rather is guilty of allowing partisanship to cloud his judgement, but I don't think he planned to be a patsy. That just seems out of character. It is marginally more likely that Rather knew or suspected the documents were fakes but thought the world would believe him anyway. The most likely scenario was that Rather was fooled.

But by whom and why? Rich's idea that the forger knew and wanted the forgery to be discovered is interesting. It is hard to fathom the stupidity of some guy typing the memo in Microsoft Word giggling to himself that he's going to fool the world. Surely he had to think the forgery would be found out.

DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe has already floated the theory that Karl Rove might be behind the forgery (funny that the DNC is basically admitting that these documents are forgeries before CBS). The RNC would have much to gain by a scandal that led back to Kerry. But I don't buy that either. Dan Rather couldn't know he was receiving documents damaging to Bush from the RNC or a pro-Bush group. He would have known something suspicious was going on.

In order for Rather to believe the documents enough to be duped, he'd have to believe that they either came directly from the Texas Air National Guard, or were dug up by some group adverse to Bush. That would be the Kerry campaign itself, the DNC, or maybe some left leaning 527 group like MoveOn.

If Rove is such a genius that he was able to fool Rather into believing a memo he leaked came from anti-Bush forces, then Glenn Reynolds was right. Kerry should just give up.

And no, I don't think a Clinton loyalist did this to get Hillary in the race in 2004. It's too late to pull the Toricelli option. I doubt Hillary could even get on the ballot in all states at this point. Of course she wouldn't need to get on the ballot everywhere, just the blue states and the battleground states, but it's just not logistically possible to pull off such a switch at this point.

And why would she go to all the trouble just to lose? Hillary would have no chance of winning this time, especially if the Dems were consumed in scandal. Hillary is not stupid, she's going to wait to take her shot in 2008.

She wouldn't get a shot in 2008 if Kerry wins. Why not sabotage Kerry to insure a clear field for 2008? This seems much more likely than Rich's theory, but there's still a problem. Why take the risk since Kerry is in trouble anyway?

Again, in order for Rather to accept the documents he would have to believe his source was capable of digging up dirt on Bush that had remained buried through a congressional campaign, a gubernatorial campaign, and a presidential campaign. He'd have to believe his source was some powerful individual on the left. And if we are saying that it's a Clinton loyalist trying to hurt Kerry, it would have to be a Kerry campaign insider loyal to Clinton – someone like James Carville.

But planning for a memo you write to be discovered as a forgery is just plain nuts for someone like Carville. He'd have to know that when it fell apart he'd be outed by Rather, not just the Kerry campaign.

This theory has the same problem as the theory that Rove leaked the documents. If someone – from either side – leaked the documents knowing and hoping they would be discovered as forgeries, he'd have to find a way to make it look like the documents came from some other believable person. Otherwise the forger could expect a sentence in a federal penitentiary. We are talking Lex-Luther-level evil genius here.

So I'm not buying it. I guess I'm back to shaking my head at the stupidity of somebody thinking they could pass off these third-rate forgeries for the real thing. And once he fooled the gatekeepers he had reason to hope the forgery would never be discovered, at least not until after the election.

And he would've gotten away with it too if it hadn't been for you snooping kids!

UPDATE: Rich writes to say that his post was a parody. It's my Emily Litella moment...Oh. Never Mind!

I guess it's a measure of how bizarre this whole story is that a parody actually sounds like a serious theory.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember Nixon's "third-rate burglary" line.

Now, "third-rate forgeries."

September 15, 2004 at 10:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember Nixon's "third-rate burglary" line.

Now, "third-rate forgeries."

September 15, 2004 at 10:07 AM

Blogger Joseph Horan said...

I don't think any of us could have imagined the outrageousness of this election before now. Isn't it amazing that even the conspiracy theories of a mild-mannered attorney now seem plausible? These are truly momentous days. I appreciate your insights and thoughts as we navigate throught them.

September 15, 2004 at 9:19 PM


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