Ken Mehlman uses "GOP-mantics" to deny he did Abramoff's bidding

Monday, October 16, 2006 at 04:14 PM

Unless you're younger that 16, have been in a coma, or think that the news is a back-up band for a guy named Huey Newton, you know that the current crop of Republicans has made semantics America's number one political game.

The most common use of "GOP-mantics" is in denying a damaging news without really denying the story.  Instead, you shift a degree or two and deny that you did or could do something just shy of what you are actually accused of doing.

Word parser of the week: Ken Mehlman, who, according to news reports, may have helped Jack Abramoff get rid of a member of the State Department.  It seems that the guy, Allen Stayman, wasn't being sufficiently compliant with what Abramoff and his cronies wanted to do in the Marianas Islands--Stayman actually wanted to introduce labor reforms, while Abramoff wanted to keep the current nightmare of labor being used and abused by several rich folks and their corporations.

Based on e-mail traffic released by the House Government Reform Committee, detailing contacts between Abramoff and several others, including some in the US government, the news report indicated that Mehlman may have played a role in Stayman's firing.  Mehlman was, at the time, the White House Political Director. One associate of Abramoff wrote, after meeting with Mehlman, "Mehlman said he would get him fired."

Mehlman's response to this damning evidence? on CNN's Late Edition? he said he "did not have the authority, as the political director, to fire anybody. It wasn't my decision."

Nice one Kenny Boy number 2.  You did not have the authority to directly and determinatively say "that guy has to go."  Great, except I don't think anyone accused you of being Stayman's direct superior in the State Department. The story is that you played a role in "obtaining" the man's firing, which, as Political Director, you most could have done.  It's called influence and heavy influence at that.  All you needed to do was convince the right people that firing Stayman would be "politically expedient," a phrase that includes "get us a dumpload of money from Abramoff to use on our political campaigns."

And, Kenny Boy, where is the unequivocal, forceful, and blanket denial that you ever, ever told anybody that you'd get Stayman fired?

So, yes, Kenny Boy number 2, you are still on the potential hook.  You--or Rove, or Bush, or somebody still need to explain those e-mails which showed, among other things, that the State Department initially resisted firing Stayman.  Then Abramoff got an e-mail from Susan Ralston (who just quit as Rove's aide) telling Abramoff (her ex-boss) that Stayman would be "out in four months." Which--surprise, surprise--he was.  Isn't that just one hell of a coincidence if everything was on the level?

Do not be at all surprised if both Mehlman and Rove had their sticky, greasy little digits all over this back room deal to end the career of an honest public servant.  And do not be at all suprised if the culpability extends up into the higher ranks of the State Department.

We all know that the worst enemy of an honest public servant is a dishonest public servant in a higher job.