"Move On" — now the GOP Party Line

Lexicon | Politics
MoveOn had a great message, but recently it’s becoming twisted against them. Just to review the origination of the term: First they petitioned the Republican Congress to “move on” past the Clinton impeachment hearings (they failed). They revived it in urging President Bush to “move on” past the war threats on Iraq (failed again).

Since then, the GOP has blossomed into the party of no accountability. After all, accountability would be tantamount to admitting error, and admitting error would invite investigations, and that would just get in the way of the important things a government does, like wage war and cut taxes. As Dick Cheney said, in a Saturday night prepared release defending Rumsfeld: “People ought to get off his case and let him do his job.” Move on, indeed. The talking points from Republican Senators today (outside of McCain and Warner) were on that message: let’s not dwell on the past; let’s focus on the present, and the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have an incumbent President who campaigns on the same theme, to forget the past.

The actual words “move on” hasn’t been used very much, but they were voiced by the Bush White House around the first time the accountability wall began crumbling. Here’s the Press Gaggle with Ari Fleischer of July 12, 2003 in Nigeria:

Q Well, after the IAEA brought up the forged documents. But on February — if it wasn’t substantiable enough to be presented in Mr. Powell’s presentation, surely by then the White House realized that it wasn’t substantiable enough to be put in the State of the Union. Why no public comment after February 5th? Why wait a month until the IAEA challenged the forged documents?

MR. FLEISCHER: Because this is the nature of intelligence information. This intelligence information was included in the NIE; it was part of the information that was being discussed widely in intelligence circles. There was a consensus agreement that supported the NIE with the footnoted objection from the State Department.

Q Does the President consider the matter closed now? With the President — with Director Tenet’s letter, does the President consider the matter closed?

MR. FLEISCHER: Yes, the President has moved on. And I think, frankly, much of the country has moved on, as well.

Q This is the last day of the President’s historic trip to Africa. Has this overshadowed what he has hoped to accomplish?

I have no idea what Fleischer’s first comment above meant; the context from the line of questioning does not help. Nonetheless, Fleischer showed his genius in setting the trap for the reporter– who rather than asking the obvious about whether the President considered the matter closed, should have asked, “What sort of country do we live in where the President doesn’t know what he’s talking about?”

A country where everyone just moves on.

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