As long as the obliging press and overzealous reactionaries take the bait, you can't lose! You've smeared an opponent and presented yourself as a class act. Repeat as necessary. Or better yet, ceaselessly. Note: some restrictions (for Democrats) may apply.
In recent reports on the use of a military aircraft to fly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to and from her district, The Washington Times, Roll Call, and The Washington Post did not challenge assertions made by former and current aides to former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and the Republican leadership regarding Hastert's use of military aircraft when he was speaker. These anonymous aides claimed Hastert's staff and family only irregularly, "occasionally," "sometimes," or "at times" accompanied him on flights and did not address whether or not members of Hastert's state delegation ever flew with him.
What's the big deal? As Salon notes, the trap was sprung by Tony Snow today:
Reporter: You called the Pelosi plane issue a silly story this morning, and shortly thereafter, the RNC put out a statement saying -- calling it "Pelosi's Power Trip" and that she's -- you know, "Non-stop Nancy Seeks Flight of Fancy." Are you --
Snow: Well, I'll reiterate our position. The question -- the RNC has put out a statement on Speaker Pelosi and travel arrangements. And I'll just repeat our position, which is as speaker of the House, she is entitled to military transport and that the arrangements -- the proper arrangements are being made between the Sergeant of Arms Office in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Department of Defense. We think it's appropriate, and so I -- again, I think this is much ado about not a whole lot. It is important for the speaker to have this kind of protection and travel. It was certainly appropriate for Speaker Hastert. And so we trust that all sides will get this worked out.And House Republicans are already laying the groundwork for this story to resurface in 2008-- expect to hear much. much, much more about it next year.