Congressional work periods are a great time for members of Congress to return home and visit with their constituents on important issues of the day. But Pat Roberts, anxious to distance himself from the unpopular Bush Administration, has headed to California to raise money for his re-election campaign.
“It would seem President Bush being in town to raise money for the Kansas GOP to help fund his re-election would be a perfect opportunity for Sen. Roberts to ask the President important questions raised by former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s new book, “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception,” said Julie Merz, Slattery Campaign Manager.
Roberts can run, but he can’t hide from his record:
Congressional Quarterly reports that in 2001, during the run up to the Iraq war, Roberts supported the President’s legislative agenda a whopping 99 percent of the time.
As the Wichita Eagle put it, Roberts soon became “a reliable partisan apologist for the Bush administration…”
But with a tough election just five months away and Bush’s approval rating sinking below 30 percent, Roberts is seeking to distance himself from the President.
Roberts does not however seem to be able to distance himself from his role as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
In McClellan’s new book, he writes that the Bush Administration and its allies in the U.S. Senate employed a sophisticated “political propaganda campaign” aimed at manipulating public opinion.
Under Chairman Roberts’ leadership, the Senate Intelligence Committee promised to report on two items: the intelligence community’s role in the intelligence used to sell the war and, whether the administration misled our country into war in Iraq.
The committee produced the first phase report, revealing that the intelligence provided was flawed, but the intelligence community did provide dire warning of consequences of war in Iraq. The intelligence was murky but was sold as solid fact. Still owed is the second phase report addressing who was responsible for the deception.
On Aug. 4, 2006, the Kansas City Star described the Senate investigation as “oft-delayed” and “much-maligned.”
On March 17, 2006, the New York Times editorialized that Roberts was “busy trying to give legal cover to the president’s trampling on the law and the Constitution.”
On Nov. 8, 2005, the Winfield Daily Courier editors wrote that Roberts “steered the investigation… away from the White House… This no doubt helped President Bush win re-election. It kept Roberts in the good graces of his party and his president.”
On Feb. 18, 2006, the Wichita Eagle wrote in its editorial: “it’s troubling that Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is fast gaining the reputation in Washington, D.C., as a reliable partisan apologist for the Bush administration on intelligence and security controversies… What’s bothering many, though, is that Roberts seems prepared to write the Bush team a series of blank checks to conduct the war on terror, even to the point of ignoring policy mistakes and possible violations of law. That’s not oversight it’s looking the other way.”
No wonder Roberts is in California. He doesn’t want to answer the question: Did the Bush Administration use propaganda, as McClellan’s book claims, to lead the United States to war in Iraq based on inaccurate intelligence data? And more importantly, what was his role in the deception?