Know Him By the Company He Keeps

Saturday, July 23, 2005 at 04:40 PM

What do all these people have in common: a man fired by Bush Senior for leaking to Bob Novak; a man devoted to the abolition of taxes and federal government; a man devoted to extreme Christian morality and control of elected officials; three men heavily implicated in the Iran Contra scandal from the Days of Reagan/Bush I?  They're all in, or influential with, the Bush II administration.

If the old adage that you can know someone by the company he keeps is true, we have a doozy of a president.

Karl Rove, he of the Wilson/Plame leak scandal, has already been fired once for leaking stories to the press--to Bob Novak, not surprisingly.  According to "Why Are These Men Laughing?," by Ron Suskind (Esquire, January 2003):
"Sources close to the former president (Bush I) say Rove was fired from the 1992 Bush presidential campaign after he planted a negative story with columnist Robert Novak about dissatisfaction with campaign fundraising chief and Bush loyalist Robert Mosbacher Jr. It was smoked out, and he was summarily ousted."

Two of the unelected powerbrokers in Washington are Grover Norquist and Paul Weyrich.  Each has a weekly meeting on Wednesday, Norquist a breakfast and Weyrich a lunch, which is attended by many of the most powerful elected and appointed officials in D.C.  According to "Norquist's power high, profile low," By Susan Page (USA TODAY) Bush has been sending a representative to the Norquist meeting "for two years, since before he formally announced his presidential candidacy. Now a White House aide attends each week. Vice President Cheney sends his own representative. So do GOP congressional leaders, right-leaning think tanks, conservative advocacy groups and some like-minded K Street lobbyists."

Weyrich has hosted a weekly lunch meeting since 1983, which is a blatantly political meeting at which Weyrich and other religious right powerbrokers take elected officials to task.  From the June 16, 2004, National Reviw Online,
"The Right Rules--Conservatism goes to the heart of what it means to be an American," By John Micklethwait & Adrian Wooldridge: "Weyrich's lunch gives leading politicians and people from the administration a chance to justify themselves to the assembled barons of the conservative movement. Weyrich, who also founded the Heritage Foundation, and now runs the Free Congress Foundation, presides over the meeting from a wheelchair. A congressman is hauled over the coals for pondering a run for the Senate and thereby losing a place on a key committee. Bullied about an upcoming vote on school vouchers in the District of Columbia, a senator promises to provide the names of his colleagues who might be 'a little wobbly.'"

As for the Iran Contra guys, read this "Three tarnished Reagan figures have hands in Bush foreign policy," By Bart Jones (National Catholic Reporter, January 10, 2003)
"Their names were synonymous with the U.S. "dirty wars" in Central America in the 1980s and the Iran-contra scandal. Today, Otto Reich, Elliot Abrams and John Negroponte have resurfaced and are helping run U.S. policy toward Latin America again.

"....Since assuming their posts a year or so ago, the Bush team has come under fire for allegedly supporting a coup against Venezuela President Hugo Chavez, blocking economic aid for the government of one-time radical priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, and trying to undermine the campaigns of leftist presidential candidates in Bolivia and Nicaragua."

All of which should be viewed in light of the fact that Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz were known as "the crazies" in the Bush I administration, as described in a prior post here.

So we certainly have a squeeky clean administration that's going to restore honor and morality to the White House.  And we certainly know who's calling the shots, at least if you're one of the few hundred people that might get to attend the Norquist and Weyrich meetings.

It's ten o'clock; do you know where your country is?