Wednesday, November 09, 2005

GOP Jumps the Shark

For those of you who do not know what jumping the shark means, it is the term given to the episode of any long running TV show when the show begins its downward slide into cancellation. Specifically, it refers to the Happy Days episode where Fonzi jumps over a shark on water skis. Most shows, it is marked when they bring on a new cast member to try to get new blood and a new storyline going. For the Brady Bunch, it was when they brought in cousin Oliver. similarly, the Cosby Show jumped the shark when it brought in cousin Olivia. Other shows, it is with the death of a character, like the death of Dr. Greene on ER. Jumping the shark is not an exact science, and many people will disagree when the show actually jumped.

The Republican Congressinoal Ledership may have very well just jumped the shark yesterday. I am sure that many people would argue that the GOP jumped the shark long ago. But if it didn't, I think it may have done so now.

Senate Leader Frist, and House Leader Hastert came out swinging yesterday, calling for a full investigation into the leak of information regarding the secret CIA prison in Eastern Europe. I will put aside the fact that they completely glossed over us even having a secret prison. That is an issue entirely in and of itself. But I will note that after they came out condemning the leak, Senator Trent Lott was quick to point out that the leak probably came from the Republicans themselves.

Another Republican, Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, said that senators from his party might have given information to the Post. Lott told reporters that the existence of the prison system was discussed last week at the Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill, which was attended by Vice President Dick Cheney and held the day before the Post published its report.

"Information that was said in there, given out in there, did get into the newspaper," Lott said. "I don't know where else it came from…. It looked to me that at least one of those reports came right out of that room."

Trying to stop the leaking of top secret information, of course, is not a bad thing. We do have to protect our national security. But, Frist's and Hastert's quick public reaction not only opens them up to more criticism for opposing a ban on US torture of prisoners, but could expose the party to further tarnishment of its already sullied reputation. They have put themselves in a loose-loose situation. If they back off the investigation, they look like they are trying to cover the tracks of a party already pummeled by another leak investigation. If they go forward and find it was one of their own, they could be delivering a knock out blow to themselves.

This could be the political blunder that cost Frist and Hastert their leadership positions. When you come out swinging, make sure you know what your are trying to hit.

GOP Leaders Urge Prison Leak Inquiry

C.I.A. Asks Criminal Inquiry Over Secret-Prison Article

GOP Leaders Urge Probe in Prisons Leak


tommy said...

If they are actually swinging knowing that the intended target is very likely one of their own, then I respect that, entirely too little of that occurs in either party. Wrong is wrong even if it is one of your own.

I think the more likely explanation is a smoke screen to try and distract attention from the infinitely more important issue of the secret prisons and what actually is going on there. There are some possible explanations of secret prisons that I could probably be OK with, but I don't think any of them are likely. I also seriously doubt we'll ever find out either.

Dingo said...