John Podhoretz explores the partisanship on the committee.
THE liberals and Democrats on the 9/11 commission are using the public hearings to develop a plotline about the months leading up to the attacks - a plotline whose purpose is to harm George W. Bush's chances for reelection, help John Kerry's chances and whitewash the Clinton administration's failures.If you have any doubts about the Democrats' motives, ask yourself is their questions were more prosecutorial and appropriate to a court proceeding or if they were more aimed at getting information that would help the Commission determine how to improve our security against terrorism and avoid the mistakes that led to 9/11? Do you ask yes/no questions when you want information or when you want to trap someone?
The liberal plotline was on display yesterday in the questioning of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, whose refusal to capitulate to the partisan goals of her Democratic cross-examiners resulted in some shockingly inappropriate behavior on their part.
Memo to Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste: The last Democrat who sighed, rolled his eyes and shook his head when he didn't like what he was hearing was Al Gore in his catastrophic debate with George W. Bush. Not a good role model.
Memo to Commissioner Bob Kerrey: Don't complain about Condi Rice "filibustering" when she's trying to answer your questions after you spend minutes of your supposedly precious time yelling at her about the situation in Iraq. Also, Bob, you might consider anger management. And new glasses: You called Condi Rice "Dr. Clarke."
According to the liberal plotline, the Bush administration knew that attacks were coming and failed to act. Had it acted, the 9/11 plot might have been "interrupted," to quote one of the commissioners.
No matter that even Richard Clarke was forced to acknowledge during his testimony that even had his every proposal become law at the beginning of the Bush administration, 9/11 would not have been prevented.
It's an election year, and the Democrats want voters to blame Bush - or at least to muddy the administration's reputation in the eyes of voters.