Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Gray confirmation hearing, another Plame vote, and misc. other news

Stop the presses! State Department Appointee to use his "position" to "advance freedom"!... At least that was the headline of sorts in yesterday's Winston-Salem Journal. The news that C. Boyden Gray, former legal counsel to the first President Bush, lobbyist, and conservative political activist had his confirmation hearing to advance as ambassador to the European Union was hardly front page news for most newspapers. The fact that his nomination currently faces no opposition hardly was either. But it was important news, perhaps, for the Winston-Salem Journal, because Gray is a native of the area.

But what was a little out of the ordinary was the headline and tone of the story. The headline read: "Gray gives first goal: "Freedom agenda is No. 1, he says".

And here was the lede to the story:

C. Boyden Gray, a native of Winston-Salem, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday during his nomination hearing that he would use the post of European Union ambassador to advance freedom.
As a result of the $3.7 trillion worth of trade the United States does with the region, he would be in a good position to do that should he be confirmed, he said.
"This provides an enormously good platform for spreading the global-freedom agenda," Gray said.

The tone of much of the rest of the story is not all that different:

Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., introduced Gray to the committee and said he should be confirmed immediately.
"Those of us who have watched Boyden over the years know that he is someone who works well with people on opposite ends of an issue, and finds areas of commonality that all sides can embrace," she said.
If one wonders this particular news story reads less like a newspaper story than a press release from a public relations agency, one only finally learns why at the very end of the story:

Gray is on the board of directors of Media General, the parent company of the Winston-Salem Journal. His father, Gordon Gray, was a lawyer, the publisher of the Journal, and the national security adviser to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In the meantime, freedom-loving peoples of the world can rejoice!

In other news:

The House Armed Services Committee became the fourth House committee yesterday to adversely report a resolution of inquiry for an independent congressional inquiry of the Bush administration's role in the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame.

In recent days, the House Judiciary, International Relations, and Intelligence committees have rejected similar resolutions of inquiry regarding the Plame affair.

The earlier committee votes were along straight party lines. Armed Services, however, rejected the resolution simply on a voice vote. The debate within the committee was over in a few short minutes. And no Democrat objected to the voice vote-- instead of demanding that members vote for the record-- apparently because the outcome was all but preordained.

For more about the congressional action (or inaction), one can read this article which I wrote on the earlier votes for the Village Voice, or scroll down below and read this post and others on this very blog over the last several days.

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