Kicked When He’s Down

John at AMERICAblog points to a Clarion Ledger article that reports the administration seems to be fishing for alternative targets of blame for the Katrina disaster, and are focusing on environmentalists:

The Clarion-Ledger has obtained a copy of an internal e-mail the U.S. Department of Justice sent out this week to various U.S. attorneys' offices: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."

Cynthia Magnuson, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said Thursday she couldn't comment "because it's an internal e-mail."

Shown a copy of the e-mail, David Bookbinder, senior attorney for Sierra Club, remarked, "Why are they (Bush administration officials) trying to smear us like this?"
Now, I imagine that an administration putting out feelers like this isn’t at all unusual. I’m sure that when the shit hits the fan and splatters squarely on the president, his handlers look for any possible course of redirection of blame—Republicans and Democrats. But, what I think is quite curious indeed is that we’re hearing about it. Lots of little leaks a-drip-drip-dripping these days.

The lame duck is getting kicked when he’s down, because everyone knows he doesn’t have a leg to stand on, no less one with which to kick them back, anymore.

Further proof? See Brian Williams:

I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.

(Hat tip to Cookie Jill for the B.W. post.)

I really like Brian Williams, and have for years; I think he’s a pretty decent reporter, and he’s got a wicked sense of humor, which you know if you’ve ever seen him on a show like Conan. But I have to call bullshit on his “duty-bound” comment. He’s not bound by anything—including the spell that held the media in deference to the president for five long years. Brian and the rest of the media are free at last, free at last, because everyone has finally noticed that the emperor’s wearing no clothes.

What they choose to do with that freedom, of course, remains to be seen, but at the moment, it looks like they’re ready to keep kicking him, as long as he’s down. Which might just ensure that he stays there.

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