Ari Fleischer last night on Hardball: "But after September 11th, having been being hit once, how could we take a chance that Saddam Hussein might not strike again?"
Matthews unfortunately was so transfixed he was unable to call out Fleischer's word play - and obvious fib. Fleischer, the smug, twisted thug he is, still has that uncanny ability to lie with easy. He's The Natural. The public indecency reminded me of this piece in TNR from a few years back:
McClellan's ineptitude is made all the more noticeable by the contrast it poses with Ari Fleischer, his syrup-tongued predecessor. Fleischer could spin elaborate webs of obfuscation, leaving the press corps mystified and docile, albeit somewhat resentful as well. Every sentence he uttered came out in the same bored affectation. The most outrageous lie sounded, in his telling, like a truism so obvious it barely deserved mentioning. Most people find such behavior deeply unnatural. When asked a direct question, our natural impulse is to answer it honestly. The capacity to do otherwise is useful for any press secretary but particularly so for the current administration, whose domestic agenda has never commanded popular support and which relies heavily upon secrecy and message discipline. Fleischer was in this sense the perfect Bush press secretary. His ability to prevaricate and dodge, without betraying himself through physical or verbal tics, represented a kind of genius. Alas, what came so easily to Fleischer utterly eludes McClellan. If the two of them ever sat down at a poker table, Fleischer would probably walk away with all of McClellan's money and the shirt off his back.
Still spinning for his boss. Still trying to save himself from the judgment of history. Sorry, Ari. It won't be kind.