What I find interesting about Harry Reid's utterly predictable bilge to a sympathetic audience (covered in detail by Captain Ed) is not that he said what he ostensibly believes (anyone or anything associated with Bush is "incompetent" in his book, I'd guess, even if he did recently give his own stamp of approval to General Petraeus), but that the paragons of virtue in the leftosphere were so willing to confabulate to cover for their fearful leader. Makes me think that all their "Bush lied!" talk is pure projection--you know he who smelt it dealt it.
Greg Sargent got some on-the-record recollections from some of the best and brightest on the left:
We asked Joan McCarter, who blogs at DailyKos under the name McJoan and wrote about being on the call here, if she recalled Reid calling Pace "incompetent."Good thing none of them got subpoenaed by Patrick Fitzgerald. One would think they would be more merciful.
"I don't remember him saying anything like that," she answered. "I can't swear he didn't say it. But I have no memory that he actually did. It's not in my notes."
Asked if Reid had disparaged Petraeus at all, McCarter said: "No. He said something about [Petraeus] coming back in September to deliver a report." But on the question of whether he'd said something disparaging, McCarter said: "Not that I recall, no."
"I don't even recall Pace's name specifically being mentioned," adds Barbara Morrill, who blogs at Kos under the name BarbinMD and says she was on the call. "If it was, he did not say that he was incompetent."
Asked if he'd criticized Petraeus, Morrill said: "Not that I recall. I checked my notes," and there was nothing like this. "He mentioned the report that Petraeus is supposed to be coming out in September. I only recall him saying something along the lines that the Bush administration had run the war poorly. Any criticisms were against the Bush administration."
Finally, here's what MyDD's Jonathan Singer, who wrote about the call here, told us: "I don't remember him calling Pace incompetent." He added that while he couldn't promise that he hadn't done it, "I just don't recall those statements."
It turns out that Josh Bresnahan of The Politico was right in his reporting this morning. Harry Reid said exactly this (and the linked post titled "The Politico Fails Journalism 100" would be called condescending rationalization, aka "tone"--that's learned in Journalism 101):
“I guess the president, uh, he’s gotten rid of Pace because he could not get him confirmed here in the Senate… Pace is also a yes-man for the president and I told him to his face, I laid it out to him last time he came to see me, I told him what an incompetent man I thought he was.”…Taken in context, though, Reid meant this helpfully. Really. Glenn Reynolds says:
Most likely, those sorts of statements just don't make much of an impression with the netroots. Which is ironic, since Reid probably made them for their benefits.How charitable, Professor Reynolds. Somehow I doubt the netroots would be nearly as kind should you have so misremembered a conversation with Karl Rove.