Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wanted: Managers with Bad Memories

Obviously, a major criterion for working in the Bush Administration is having a bad memory. Lurita Alexis Doan, the Administrator of the General Services Administration (which manages the federal government's buildings), says she can't remember much of what happened at a meeting just two months ago, this January 26.

At the meeting, Scott Jennings, a top aide to Karl Rove, gave a PowerPoint presentation on highly political topics, such as which were the White House's top 20 2008 House targets (i.e., House seats they hope to pick up in 2008). Doan says she "honestly do[es]n't have recollection of the presentation at all." According to others present at the meeting, Doan asked her top staffers "How can we use GSA to help our candidates in the next election?" When asked whether she said that, her response was, "I do not have a recollection of actually saying that."

No recollection? Wouldn't you remember, yes or no, whether you made a statement like that? It's a little different from "pass the mustard," I would say.

By saying that she "has no recollection" of making the statement, Doan is saying that she might have said it. She can't tell us that she didn't say it. It would have been more comforting, wouldn't you think, if she had said, "Well of course I would never have said such a thing because it would have been completely inappropriate to suggest that we 'use' a government agency to support 'our' candidates."

So let's see. Doan can't remember whether or not she blatantly politicized the GSA. Alberto Gonzales can't remember being involved in the U.S. Attorney firings -- or, more precisely, "doesn't recall having a recollection about having deliberative discussions," according to stand-in spokesperson Dana Perino. President Bush himself also "has no recollection" of suggesting the firings, although "anything's possible," according to Tony Snow. And of course Scooter Libby's memory has more holes than a Swiss cheese.

Can't anybody in this administration remember anything? Perhaps they're just very good at understanding which things are best forgotten.

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