Number of days between Novak column outing Valerie Plame and announcement of investigation: 74 days.
Number of days between O’Neill 60 Minutes interview and announcement of investigation: 1 day.
Having the administration reveal itself as a gaggle of hypocritcal goons … priceless.
Here’s the thing: Democrats were all in a tizzy when the Plame affair hit. If you cut through the partisan BS, it boiled down to a political opportunity that the Democrats seized.
Now those same partisans are largely silent on the breach of confidentiality argument, because this time it (conveniently) helps make their case.
Am I surprised? Nah. Disappointed? Sure. Howard Dean’s statement on the matter correctly pointed out that O’Neill’s comments reinforce Dean’s position from day one, but miss the larger opportunity to establish some intellectual consistency on the topic. This was a perfect opportunity to create a Sister Souljah Moment — by reiterating his opposition to the war, slamming the Bush Administration on its reckless run-up to the war, yet still decrying the potential breach of national security that may have revealed confidential information. (At this point we don’t know whether confidential information was revealed. But that’s the point of an investigation. And if the Plame affair merits an investigation, then surely this situation does?)
Would this play into the Bushies’ hands? To a degree. But the larger point — that a principled stand on the issues doesn’t heed partisan gain — would not be lost on voters or on leaders within the party.