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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

 
I Beg Your Pardon

by digby


I think it's fairly obvious that this trial balloon over the week-end to pardon Scooter Libby is for real and we should all take it quite seriously. It wasn't just Mr Joe DiToensing who said it, it was none other than William Kristol on Fox news:

[Fitzgerald] indicted one person, not for any underlying crime, but for allegedly mis-remembering a couple of conversations with reporters when talking about them to the grand jury — these were conversations that went nowhere. No one thinks Scooter Libby actually leaked Valerie Plame’s name, even if that were a crime, which is isn’t.

Bush should pardon Scooter Libby and get the whole thing over with…I am blaming Ashcroft for recusing himself. And the CIA was out to get people in the White House at that point. And Bush should pardon Scooter Libby.


Here's a little reminder of our friend Kristol from a few years back:

What Republicans now need is the nerve to fight. They must stand for, to quote Helprin again, "the rejection of intimidation, the rejection of lies, the rejection of manipulation, the rejection of disingenuous pretense, and a revulsion for the sordid crimes and infractions the president has brought to his office." (Weekly Standard, May 25, 1998, page 18.)


I guess it all depends on the gravity of the crime. Clinton as we know, was accused of lying in a civil case and covering up an extra-marital affair --- by a flamboyantly partisan prosecutor who selectively leaked like a sieve. Libby, on the other hand, is accused of lying about whether he leaked the name of a CIA officer to the press --- by a non-partisan, tight-lipped prosecutor who has been very conservative in developing this case (something for which Karl Rove should thank his lucky stars.) I'm not even going to make the argument as to why one is more deserving of approbation and legal consequence. It's obvious.

As for a pardon, I realize that the administration believes in pre-emption, but this is ridiculous. As Elizabeth Edwards, writing today on her blog over at One America Committee pointed out:

Is there some greater benefit here to a pardon or some mitigating circumstances that make a pardon acceptable? The prosecution was not political; the defendant was knowledgeable about the law and the offense; the prosecution itself will not be disruptive to our national interest and in fact might give other potential leakers some pause before they use damaging information for political purposes. I think the only rationale for a pardon is that the inner political chicanery of the administration could be revealed during the trial of Libby.

Well, here's a message: the country already knows. All a pardon does is confirm the perception that in addition to being a White House where the powerful think they can do what they want regardless of what is right or lawful, it is also a White House where responsibility and accountability (remember, those things they wanted from fourth grade public school teachers?) are nowhere to be found.


Thank you.

I wouldn't put it past them to pardon Libby. After all, they've gotten away with pardoning themselves for their crimes for the past 30 years. Indeed, the precedent for this was set when Poppy pardoned Cap Weinberger et al on Christmas eve as he was leaving office. And nobody said a peep.

As Robert Parry wrote in this prescient piece:


In marked contrast to the continuing Republican investigations of President Clinton, the Democrats eight years ago cooperated with Republicans in shutting down substantive inquiries that implicated President George H.W. Bush in a variety of geopolitical scandals.

At that time, the Democrats apparently felt that pursuing those inquiries into Bush’s role in secret contacts with Iran – both in 1980 and during the Iran-contra affair – and getting to the bottom of alleged CIA military support for Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the mid-1980s would distract from the domestic policy goals at the start of the Clinton presidency.

That judgment, however, has come back to haunt the Democrats. Clearing George H.W. Bush in 1993 ironically set the stage both for the Republican scandal-mongering against Clinton and for the restoration of the Bush family dynasty in 2000.

Certainly, the Democratic gestures of bipartisanship were not reciprocated by the Republicans. They opted for a pattern of aggressive politics that challenged the Clinton administration from its first days and has continued through the 2000 Election and into the new round of investigations of ex-President Clinton.

The Democrats have found themselves constantly on the defensive, sputtering about the unfairness of it all.

[...]

Beyond obscuring these important chapters of recent history and thus adding to the confusion of the American people, the Democrats discovered that their deferential strategy gained them nothing from the Republicans. If anything, the Democratic behavior was taken as a sign of weakness.

After the Democrats folded the Reagan-Bush investigations, the Republicans simply swept their easy winnings off the table and raised the stakes.


No kidding. These zombie Republicans just keep coming back, more crooked and more blatant about it every time. They just sweep their winnings off the table and raise the stakes.



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