Each week, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino seems to claim a new “personal best” in unintended irony. Today, however, she set a new world record. (One can almost hear the partisan fans chanting, “USA! USA! USA!”)
Here is a verbatim exchange from this afternoon’s press conference, in which Ms. Perino answered questions concerning the “state of emergency” declared by Pakistani dictator, Pervez Musharraf, to crack down on his political opponents:
QUESTION: Is it ever reasonable to restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism?
MS. PERINO: In our opinion, no.
In Ms. Perino’s defense, she may have dispensed with the concluding caveat, “…unless we do it,” because she thought it so obvious as to be hardly worth mentioning.
Or maybe she just never noticed how her boss has rearranged the constitutional furniture since 9/11. After all, her habeas corpus rights have not been suspended, her telephone calls have not been intercepted without a warrant, her library-book borrowing records have not been inspected by FBI agents, she was never tried for a crime by a military tribunal without access to the evidence against her, and she was never denied access to government documents withheld on dubious claims of national security.
When you are as busy as the White House Press Secretary must be, who has time to see what’s going on?
We are used to hearing less-than-the-truth from Mr. Bush’s spokes-people. As with her predecessors – the heinously disreputable Ari Fleischer, propaganda automaton Scott McClellan, and grinning liar Tony Snow – the crap Ms. Perino spews is recited from the White House’s meticulous disinformation script. With the guys before her, one at least had the sense that they understood what they were dissembling about. With Ms. Perino, one gets the distinct feeling that she rarely has a clue.
It’s not dishonesty if you are too stupid to tell truth from falsity, right?