A peek behind the curtain

A PEEK BEHIND THE CURTAIN…. Republicans haven’t exactly been oblique about their motivations for going after Speaker Pelosi for Bush’s torture scandal. It was a pleasant surprise to hear Fox News be so candid about this on the air today.

Greg Sargent flagged this gem, with correspondent Jonathan Hunt telling Shep Smith the truth — GOP lawmakers are using a manufactured controversy to drive attention away from what really matters.

“Instead of this debate being about national security, what is and isn’t torture, what the Bush administration should and shouldn’t have allowed and whether anybody in that administration should now be prosecuted, they, the Republicans, are now able to frame this debate as to whether Nancy Pelosi is fit to continue as Speaker,” Hunt said. “So, Shep, they are not about to let their foot off the gas in any way, shape, or form right now.”

There were some Fox News reports last week hinting in this direction, but today’s acknowledgement was quite specific.

I’m still inclined to think this is a flawed strategy. For one thing, before going after Pelosi, Republicans were poised to get what they wanted anyway, and the attacks on the Speaker run the risk of backfiring. For another, the criticisms only make sense if you turn off your brain — Republicans are demanding to know what Pelosi knew about the Bush administration’s crimes and when she knew it, as if the failure to raise adequate objections was more important than the wrongdoing.

But the Fox News candor at least tells the audience the truth. This is about reframing a scandal, nothing more.