Last night on AC 360, Paul Begala, someone who genuinely irritates me for numerous reasons (is there anyone on television who comes across as more oozingly sanctimonious?), was “debating” Ari Fleischer, someone who I think is one of the most loathesome lowlifes of the entire Bush administration. I put debating in air quotes because it is hard to have a debate with Ari Fleischer, because literally everything that comes out of his mouth is a verifiable lie. At any rate, Begala really nailed Fleischer to the wall in this segment, and if you can watch the video, I would recommend it:
COOPER: Ari, you said it’s basically opening up a Pandora’s box for the president, leaving — leaving the door open to a possible prosecution.
How is that opening a Pandora’s box?
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, number one, we didn’t release any Clinton memos. Clinton didn’t release any previous President Bush top-secret memos.
The problem that I have with all of this is, now that the White House is doing this to its predecessor, what will future White Houses do, depending on how the world turns under Barack Obama? Something will go wrong during Barack Obama’s presidency. Do you really want to be in a position where whoever follows him says, it was your fault; you must have done something; there’s this top-secret memo we will find somewhere that makes you look or sound culpable?
COOPER: Paul, is this a slippery slope, a Pandora’s box?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first up, the president was compelled to release them by a lawsuit, a lawsuit that his lawyers, the Justice Department and the White House counsel, decided they could not successfully defend.
We have a Freedom of Information Act. I know it’s — it’s an adjustment, but we now have a White House that lives under the rule of law and obeys the laws. So, he released them because he was compelled to release them.
This is very different from the Bush administration, which selectively leaked national security information, top-secret information, in order to build what I think the record shows was a dishonest case for war, or, in the case of Valerie Wilson, to destroy the career of a covert CIA agent.
That’s the politicization of intelligence information and — and top-secret information. This was the president obeying the law.
I have to say I am really surprised there has not been more pushback from Democrats pointing out that Obama didn’t just “choose” to release these memos, but in fact was compelled to release them and even fought releasing them.
You really need to read the whole transcript to see how sleazy Flesicher is, but the video was better.