Rep. Cannon Shoots Holes Through the Truth

03/21/2007 02:49 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) has an interesting relationship with "the truth."

On Monday Rep. Cannon told a NASA scientist that he was not entitled to free speech -- that apparently, he did not have the right to truthfully testify as to the conclusions of his taxpayer-funded research, if those conclusions contradicted White House policy:

"Free speech is not a simple thing and is subject to and directed by policy."

Rep. Cannon is essentially defending the scientific equivalent of the Downing Street Memo, only in this case it was the scientific research that was "being fixed around the policy."

Well today Rep. Cannon shot yet another sophistical broadside through the notion of an open and informed public debate, vociferously arguing against issuing subpoenas that would command top White House aides to testify under oath as to their role in and knowledge of the controversial U.S. attorney firings.

"Let's get to the truth. Let's do it in a deliberate, even-handed manner, not in a stampede that will only serve to trample the truth and unnecessarily provoke a confrontation with the president."

Because, of course, nothing tramples the truth more than, um... sworn testimony.

No, the only way we're really ever going to "get to the truth," according to Rep. Cannon, is to have Karl Rove testify behind closed doors, without a transcript, and not under oath. For if the truth, as Rep. Cannon implies, is not a simple thing, and is subject to and directed by policy -- and if that policy is largely directed by Rove himself -- then surely, anything Rove says must be the truth.

That is the sort of "deliberate, even-handed manner" in which Republicans have exercised their oversight authority these past six years. And that is why voters handed control of Congress over to Democrats this past November.

[Read more from David Goldstein at]