Plamegate… is truly opening a window on the soul of the Republican Party… and it’s not a pretty view. We’ve seen the GOP attack machine in action many times before. But this time, the targets of the smears are intertwined with national security concerns — putting the attackers in the tricky position of having to choose which comes first, their country or their party.
Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas has clearly chosen the latter. No longer is the smear campaign confined to the surrogates on the margins, now Roberts has opted to use the Senate to do his dirty work. The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee has decided to hold hearings on whether the CIA’s definition of undercover is too broad. Hmm… I wonder why he’s doing that?
Speaking about the Plame case on CNN, Roberts said “I must say from a common-sense standpoint, driving back and forth to work to the CIA headquarters, I don’t know if that really qualifies as being, you know, covert. But, generically speaking, it is a very serious matter.” But not so serious that the Roberts’ committee will be taking testimony on the Plame leaks… just on the question of how, you know, secret a secret agent has to be before, generically speaking, outing that agent should be considered a bad thing.
Josh Marshall nails it when he says that Roberts “is a shame to the office, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the White House political operation.” If you’ve come to a place in your political career where you can look at the Plame case and decide that the real culprit in the matter is the C.I.A.’s definition of covert — and that the best course of action for is you is to attack Valerie Plame — you really need to rethink why it is you went into politics in the first place and whether this is really what you want to be doing with your life.