… and the complicit MSM.
The Republican spin machine is at it again. They have launched a coordinated, preemptive strike against Patrick Fitzgerald and any pending indictments. Basically, the strategy is: describing the prosecutor, the media, and any D’s who ‘dare’ impugn the reputation of the Cheney/Rove/Libby/WHIG cabal or express sympathy for Joe and Valerie Wilson, as bleeding-heart wimps who don’t understand how the “real world” of politics works. They excuse the leak and any attempt to hide it as simply being “aggressive politics” and that anyone who complains is just being a baby.
Unfortunately, and dare I say inevitably, they are good at this stuff. It starts to seep in, even into the SCLM. Most notable disappointments include Tim Russert, who basically gave Kay Bailey Hutchison free time on MTP this weekend to expound on the Republican talking points, and now Nicholas Kristof in today’s NYT, who opines that:
“Before dragging any Bush administration officials off to jail, we should pause and take a long, deep breath… We don’t know what evidence has been uncovered by Patrick Fitzgerald, but we should be uneasy that he is said to be mulling indictments that aren’t based on his prime mandate, investigation of possible breaches of the 1982 law prohibiting officials from revealing the names of spies. Instead, Mr. Fitzgerald is rumored to be considering mushier kinds of indictments, for perjury, obstruction of justice or revealing classified information. [NOTE: this is HOOK-LINE-AND-SINKER what the R fog machine wants us to think).
There is, of course, plenty of evidence that White House officials behaved abominably in this affair. I’m offended by the idea of a government official secretly using the news media – under the guise of a “former Hill staffer” – to attack former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. That’s sleazy and outrageous. But a crime? I’m skeptical, even though there seems to have been a coordinated White House campaign against Mr. Wilson. To me, the whisper campaign against Mr. Wilson amounts to back-stabbing politics, but not to obvious criminality. [Note: Did Sen. Hutchison write this for him? This is EXACTLY what the R strategy says].
So I find myself repulsed by the glee that some Democrats show at the possibility of Karl Rove and Mr. Libby being dragged off in handcuffs. It was wrong for prosecutors to cook up borderline and technical indictments during the Clinton administration, and it would be just as wrong today. Absent very clear evidence of law-breaking, the White House ideologues should be ousted by voters, not by prosecutors.”
Aaarrggghhh!!! Where can I start? Not only does this column make Kristof look like an (unwitting?) supporter of the Republican spin-control team, but it makes the cardinal mistake throughout (in some passages that I didn’t quote, as well as the concluding passage above) of comparing Ken Starr’s investigation of Bill Clinton and the ultimate perjury charges there–over a BLOWJOB–to this investigation of a rogue White House cabal that successfully fogged the nation into WAR!!! It is as outrageous as Sen. Hutchison’s comparison (which Russert failed to challenge!) of this investigation with the MARTHA STEWART prosecution!
Well, they hopefully have started to rouse a sleeping lion. A friend of mine who worked in the Clinton White House forwarded me an email that is making the rounds among Clinton alumni. It is a GREAT collection of quotes from a long list of R stalwarts, including Hutchison herself, about the seriousness, severity, and impeachable character of a perjury charge. Hopefully these quotes, gathered by the DSCC, can start to make the rounds (beginning here?) and some members of the SCLM can question these Senators about their shameful double-standard and hypocrisy.
From the DSCC – 1999 quotes from GOP Senators on
prejury and objstruction of justice –
Sen. Hutchison: “The reason that I voted to remove him from office is because I think the overridding issue here is that truth will remain the standard for perjury and obstruction of justice in our
criminal justice system and it must not be gray. It must not be muddy.” [AP, 2/12/99]
Sen. Frist: “There is no serious question that perjury and obstruction of justice are high crimes and misdemeanors…Indeed, our own Senate precedent establishes that perjury is a high crime and misdemeanor…The crimes of perjury and
obstruction of justice are public crimes threatening the administration of justice.” [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]
Sen. Kyl: “…there can be no doubt that perjurious, false, and misleading statements made under oath in federal court proceedings are indeed impeachable offenses…John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the United States, said `there is no crime more extensively pernicious to society’ than perjury, precisely because it `discolors and poisons the streams of justice.'” [Congressional
Sen. DeWine: “Obstruction of justice and perjury
strike at the very heart of our system of justice…Perjury is also a very serious
crime…The judiciary is designed to be a mechanism for finding the truth-so that justice can be done. Perjury perverts the judiciary,
turning it into a mechanism that accepts lies-so that injustice may prevail.” [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]
Sen. Talent: “Nobody else in a position of trust, not a CEO, not a labor union leader, not a principal of a school could do half of what the president has done and stay in office. I mean, who would have said a year ago that a president could perjure himself and obstruct justice and tamper with witnesses… and stay in office.”
[CNBC, “Hardball,” 12/19/98]
Sen. McConnell: “I am completely and utterly perplexed by those who argue that perjury and obstruction of justice are not high crimes and misdemeanors…Perjury and obstruction hammer away
at the twin pillars of our legal system: truth and justice.” [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]
Sen. Voinovich: “As constitutional scholar Charles
Cooper said, `The crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice, like the crimes of
treason and bribery, are quintessentially offenses
against our system of government, visiting injury immediately on society
itself.'” [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]
Sen. Brownback: “Perjury and obstruction of justice are crimes against the state. Perjury goes directly against the truth-finding function of the judicial branch of government.”
[Congressional Record, 2/12/99]
OK, folks, let’s get to work. Let’s get THESE quotes out there, in context of blowjob vs. war, and take back the high ground on this one.