Monday, October 24, 2005


A Deer in the Headlights

They Don't Say Much

I must admit, for the past few weeks as one debacle after another has emerged from the White House or Congress, I've sort of been sitting here like a deer in the headlights...staring into an oncoming disaster, without the ability to comment or even move. That mood seems to permeate the city lately, especially in light of the potentially forthcoming indictments on the Valerie Plame leak. Today, a couple of events pushed me out of my tupor and back, briefly, into the blogosphere to comment.

Unlike Big Media, I don't like to comment on what has not yet happened. Patrick Fitzgerald, the independent prosecutor appointed to investigate the Plame leak, has yet to issue a report or an indictment. Never the less, the city is abuzz with who will or won't be in his sights. I have no special insights into Mr. Fitzgerald's work, but I do have insight into the political process and two events, at least as reported, have me concerned.

First, is the trail balloon floated by Senator Kay-Bailey Hutchinson pre-emptively hoping that the indictments will be for 'real' transgressions of the law and not some non-crime like perjury. Excuse me?!

I stood with the Republicans during the impeachment of President Clinton because I think that the occupant of our highest office should be held to a high standard. I didn't think Mr. Clinton's personal affairs were of interest, but I took issue with his lying, under oath, about it. We all rolled our eyes at his defense..."It depends on what your definition of is is." The GOP took Mr. Clinton to task (aka they impeached Him) for his perjury, or as his defenders put is, 'a little lie about sex'. But a lie under oath is a lie under oath. Now Senator Hutchinson is suggesting that like President Clinton, any perjury associated with the investigation of the Plame affair, isn't really a crime at all?! Funny how political fortunes change so quickly. (Note: Lefty-Blog Daily-Kos has the goods on what my GOP Colleague said in the Clinton-era on is enlightening).

In the words of Lisa Simpson, they don't expect me to eat this tripe? Do they?

I mean, what's under investigation here is the alleged outing of an undercover CIA agent during a time of war for purposes of seeking vengeance against her husband who was an administration critic. That seems to me to be a hole lot 'heavier' issue than who's woo-woo Slick Willy abused with a cigar. I did not accept perjury for the arguably frivolous, and I will not accept it for a more serious matter like the Plame case.

What's telling is that Senator Hutchinson is not one to go off the reservation if you will. Her comments, based on my experience on the hill, are presumably a trial balloon to test message strategy in the event that a high official is indicted in this incident...most likely Rove or Cheney. I don't know what the Senator's knowledge in this affair is, but this trail balloon tells me that there is serious concern in the White House that there will be some high level indictments. No doubt Ed Gillespie, Frank Luntz and others are testing the waters for possible rhetorical defenses if Cheney or Rove fall to an indictment. I find the leak telling and terrifying.

Another sign I find troubling is this story attacking Mr. Fitzgerald. The oldest adage in the law and politics is that if you can't win on the facts, beat up your opponent. Clinton's team was masterful at this with Ken Starr. (For the record, I've met Mr. Starr on several occasions, my impression of him is that he is not some sexually fixated moralist, but rather a diligent and honest I can only hope to emulate). Now the Bush squad is testing the waters on Fitzgerald. Again, the between the lines take on this is that the Administration is running scared and this issue may run far higher than we realize.

How many of us on the right will drink the Kool-aid on this one? Accepting impeachment for perjury about an affair, but somehow parsing it when it comes to outing a CIA Agent. The spin will not doubt be stunning, and shameless. I'll cringe too when I remember how angry I was when the Democrats all appeared with Clinton after he was impeached, to offer their meager excuses for Mr. Clinton's contempt for our system...demonstrated by his lying under oath. I can only imagine the spin we'll get on this issue, and I can tell you right now it will probably make me even sicker, especially in light of the high standards that GOP claimed they wanted to hold the Presidency to. (Of course they only hold the President to those standards when the President is a Democrat).

So that's what's coming I fear. From what I can glean from these trial balloons being floated I am afraid that the Plame affair goes high up within the administration. We could again be facing another crisis within the Presidency that would be closer to Watergate than to Monica-gate. And the gooey-disgusting rhetoric that will follow will likely be audacious. We liked the GOP because they put their money where their mouth is, results not mealy mouthed excuses...but here we are, five years into the revolution and this is all we results and mealy mouthed excuses.

If this machinations tell me anything, it is that the White House fears that there will be high level indictments, perhaps as far as the Vice President.

Anyway, we gawkers here in DC are all just watching and waiting for the truck to hit us, this is so not what we expect from the GOP.

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