Friday, July 22, 2005

Karen Hughes, Political Mother to the President?

Top Bush aide and close-confidant Karen Hughes is a dead-ringer for the President's mother in personal and communication styles and even in her appearance.

Hughes freaks me out, though, with her over-the-top partisanship and obviously biased view of.....well, everything George Bush. It's sort of like she's....George's political mother. She's all loyalty, and shamelessly without a shred of objectivity, rather like the more rabid Little League and soccer moms.

From the Center for American Progress....

Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will take up the nomination of Karen Hughes to become Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. At a time when the United States ' reputation in the international community is eroding, it is vital that our public diplomacy efforts meet the highest levels of credibility. The Senate needs to pay keen attention to her role in very questionable ethical practices by the White House message machine over the past four years. As Hughes played such an important role in the White House, there are some important issues that need to be discussed before the Senate votes on her nomination.

Karen Hughes needs to clarify her involvement in the Valerie Plame scandal. The New York Times reports this morning that Hughes has been interviewed by the federal prosecutor investigating the leak of former covert CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity. In her book, Ten Minutes From Normal, Hughes discussed the leak, calling it "wrong" and "unfair." Hughes earlier said the leak was "disruptive to democracy." Given what we know about Karl Rove's involvement in the leak, how does Hughes respond to her previous comments that she knew Rove wasn't involved in the leak because "Karl has said he was not involved."

Hughes must accept accountability for the manipulation of Iraq intelligence. Hughes took a leading role in crafting Bush's statements to convince the American people of the Iraqi threat. Bush made a number of misleading statements, including saying that Saddam wanted to "use al-Qaeda as a forward army." The most famous of these statements was that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Africa , a claim made in Bush's 2003 State of the Union address. Hughes was involved in drafting that speech, and should be asked if she concedes that these statements were exaggerations.

Finally, Hughes should be asked about her role in smearing critics of the White House. Former Bush counter-terrorism Chief Richard Clarke publicly criticized the White house about its counter-terrorism strategies, and they struck back with a vengeance. The New York Times reported that Hughes "was an advocate of the howitzer treatment" of Clarke. The White House released classified information that cast Clarke in a negative light, but refused Clarke's request to declassify his correspondence with Rice prior to 9/11.

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