Rick Davis: The last 8 years encapsulated

McCain's campaign manager: Troopergate report found "no violations of any kinds of laws or ethics rules." The report: Palin "abused her power by violating" Alaska law

By Glenn Greenwald
Published October 12, 2008 8:32PM (EDT)

(updated below - Update II - Update III)

It's simply not possible to lie more deliberately or flagrantly than this:

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis on Fox News this morning, when asked by Chris Wallace about the Troopergate report issued on Friday:

The reality is there was absolutely no wrongdoing found in the report -- 1,000 pages -- an enormous waste of time -- and the best they could come up with was:   no violations of any kinds of laws or ethics rules.

From the Report -- the very first finding -- page 8 (.pdf):

There's no lie too brazen.  There's not a modicum of personal responsibility or acknowledgment of wrongdoing.   Even bipartisan, unanimous investigations that result in adverse findings of wrongdoing are smeared and dismissed away (Davis:  "kangaroo court" -- "big public circus" -- "this now drops dead and there'll be no follow-up at all").  Chris Wallace, who is actually more decent as an interviewer than most of his colleagues, interrupted and confronted Davis with his lie -- "No, it said she violated the state Ethics laws" -- but Davis just persisted as brazenly as before with the lie.  That's a perfect snapshot for what we've had the last eight years.


UPDATE:  As NYtoLA points out, the campaign's response not only relies upon a blatant lie about what the report concludes, but is also incoherent and internally contradictory:

What shocks me about the McCain-Palin campaign's reaction to this report is how illogical they have been in their response. On the one hand, they claim that the report shows she did nothing wrong; therefore, they argue, she is totally off the hook. But on the other hand, they claim that the report's conclusions are invalid because the investigation was too tainted by partisanship. One wants to stand on top of a tall object with a megaphone, yelling, "What the hell are you talking about!? THIS MAKES NO SENSE!"

And, as Jim White notes, Palin has been telling the same lie about the Report's conclusions.  It's one thing to dispute the Report's findings; that's within their prerogative.  But outright lying about what the Report actually concluded shouldn't be.  Yet that's exactly what they're doing -- deliberately and as clearly as can be.


UPDATE II:  Here's what Sarah Palin said today on a conference call with Alaskan reporters about the Troopergate report; her lying is so brazen that it's nothing short of despicable (first ellipses in original):

Palin:  Let me talk a little bit about the Tasergate issue if you guys would let me and, Meg, you want me to just jump right on in there?

Stapleton: Sure governor, go ahead.

Palin: OK cool.

Well, I’m very very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoingany hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that. . . .He did what any – I think -- any rational person would do so again, nothing to apologize there with Todd’s actions and again very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing.

The Report explicitly found that she "abused her power" by "violating" an Alaskan ethical statute -- a law -- and she's stating that the Report "cleared her of any legal wrongdoing . . . any hint of any kind of unethical activity." Again, if she wants to dispute or disagree with the Report's conclusions, that's her right.  But what she said here is just a bald-faced lie about what the Report says.  There's just no other way to describe that.  She really is out-Chenying Dick Cheney.


UPDATE III:  Credit where it's due -- in this case, to ABC News' Jake Tapper:

Palin Makes Troopergate Assertions that Are Flatly False

On Saturday, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin twice spoke to reporters about the so-called "Troopergate" scandal and the investigative report on whether she had abused her power . . . . "Well, I’m very very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing," Palin said, "any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that."

That's just not the case.

One can make the argument, as Palin and her allies have tried to do, that this investigation -- launched by a bipartisan Republican-controlled legislative body -- was somehow a partisan Democratic witch hunt, but one cannot honestly make the argument that the report concluded that Palin was "cleared of any legal wrongdoing" or "any hint of unethical activity" . . . . When Palin first commented on the report she parsed. . . . But now Palin has moved on from parsing to assertions that are not true.

Tapper cites several other instances where Palin made clearly false statements about the Report's findings.  Even good reporters typically avoid stating that high political officials have made "flatly false" statements, even when they clearly have.  But in this case, Palin's lies are so glaring that nothing else will do.  Kudos to Tapper for avoiding that convention here.

Glenn Greenwald

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