E.J. Dionne takes an understated view of Richard Clarke’s testimony, describing it as “democracy’s revenge” against President Bush. I always thought that democracy exacted its revenge at election time. However, Dionne explains: “One great thing about democracies is that they make it very hard for secrets to be kept forever, for claims to go unchallenged indefinitely and for those in power to escape responsibility. The Sept. 11 commission is democracy’s revenge on those who thought that a horrific event in our nation’s history could be used for partisan ends, that serious questions about what happened would get pushed aside — and that no one would ever have to say ‘I’m sorry.’”
I agree that our democracy is a fine thing. But it would function even better if Dionne and others in the mainstream media reported honestly. For example, wouldn’t it be less “hard for secrets to be kept” and “for claims to go unchallenged” if Dionne and his ilk would acknowledge that Clarke’s testimony in 2004 is flatly inconsistent with his testimony 2002?
There is a place even for Dionne in our democracy. But it’s difficult not to think that his talents as a party shill would make him far more valuable in a non-democratic context, working for a state-controlled newspaper. At least there he wouldn’t suffer the weekly indignity of having his column appear next to that of Charles Krauthammer.
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