Thursday, August 18, 2005

“Intelligence Failures”

“Orrin Hatch says Karl Rove is too smart to do something like reveal the identity of a CIA agent just to get even with her husband,” I said to Patty. “Everybody says Rove is a bright guy.”

Patty gave me a pitying look. “Ace,” she said, “just think about it for a minute. The assumption there is that smart people don’t do dumb things.”

“Uh huh,” I said. “Makes sense to me.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she said. “Just look at history. Nixon was winning re-election by a landslide. Would all those smart guys in his campaign do anything so stupid as to order a burglary of Democratic offices?”

“That’s different,” I said.

“Would Bill Clinton, one of the smartest men ever to be President, do something as unbelievably boneheaded as to have oral sex with an intern in the Oval Office?”

I squirmed a little. “That’s a special case,” I said.

“Would an intelligent man like Gary Hart, the leading contender for the Democratic nomination, dare reporters to follow him and see if he was having an affair?”

“That was a unique situation,” I said.

“Would a brainy lawyer like John Roberts deny he was a member of the Federalist Society, when anybody could get on the Internet and find out that he was on its steering committee?”

“That was just a slip,” I said.

“Would a bright guy like Dwight Eisenhower lie to the world about a spy plane the Soviets had shot down, when they could produce the pilot and show him to be a liar?”

“I’d forgotten about that,” I said. “That was a long time ago.”

“Would a master politician like Lyndon Johnson do something so obviously impossible as to keep expanding the war in Vietnam at the same time he was trying to fund a Great Society?”

“Okay, okay. Enough,” I said. “I get your point.”

“It’s about time,” she said.

“But Orrin Hatch is really an intelligent man,” I said. “He couldn’t be wrong about Karl Rove.”

© Tony Russell, 2005

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