WHIG of the Week -- Nicholas E. Calio, WHIG in charge of herding groups of rubber-stamp-wielding legislators in the march to invade Iraq
Often dismissed in the phrases "et al.
," "and the rest," and "others", with the likes of The Professor, Mary Ann, and James R. "Jim" Wilkinson
, Nicholas E. Calio
nevertheless did play some role in the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), and every one of the WHIGs will get their shot at being WHIGGATE Update's WHIG of the Week®. So it's the week for Nick
(known to his fans as "The Quiet WHIG") to take his turn in the spotlight. That spotlight is best shown not on current events around the White House Iraq Group in the Senate
or the House
, but on the events of September 2002, when Nicholas E. Calio's role, as Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, was to make sure that members of Congress (including dupes like John Kerry who should have known much better) were bullied into voting war powers to the President using the GOP's most effective weapon (until the coffins started coming home), beating war drums right before an election for electoral gain. Here is a rare published quotation from WHIG Calio in a Detroit News article, "Iraq Debate Turns to Rage" (26 Sept 2002)
"We ought not politicize this war," Daschle said in blunt remarks on the Senate floor less than six weeks before the midterm elections. "We ought not politicize the rhetoric about war and life and death."
The head of Bush's legislative team, Nicholas Calio, said there will be no apology because "there has been no attempt on (Bush's) part to politicize the war."
Speaking of a debate over legislation to create a Department of Homeland Security, Bush said: "The House responded, but the Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people. ... ."
Another reason why it's important to go back to September 2002 again and again, when the WHIGs were first launching their "new product"
and beating the war drums loudly, is that there is a continuing serious attempt in the Administration, and among their media dupes and apologists, to spin our collective memories of that time, to try to convince us that we "all" thought Saddam had nukes and poison germ bombs (and that he planned 9/11, and sent those mysterious anthrax letters). We didn't all believe these White House lies. Some of us were willing to listen to Blix and El Baradei
. Some of us were willing to leave working UN inspectors on the ground in Iraq rather than threatening them with US Cruise Missiles and Smart-Brand Bombs. Some of us knew the WHIGs were lying all along, even though we didn't yet know the name of their little club.
Near the end of the same Detroit News article
, they solicit a quote from a local Detroit Congressman who is never easily fooled or bullied:
Tags:white house iraq group;WHIG;WHIGgate;Calio
Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, when asked whether Bush is politicizing the war, remarked, "is the sky blue?"
"That's all Bush and the vice president are speaking about at fund-raisers and speeches in the states with hotly contested races," Conyers said in a statement. "The White House has not been able to cite any major change in circumstances about Iraq different from six months ago that all of a sudden has created a sudden crisis. Why now, just before the election?"
Daschle's comments drew the support of several other Democrats, some of whom spoke in unusually harsh terms.
"It is despicable that any president would attempt to use the serious matter of impending war as a tool in a campaign year," said Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W. Va.
Despicable, but it worked.