Alito the Hun
Topic: Bush Administraiton
Well, now we're all distracted from Scooter Libby's indictment by the president's announcement of yet another nominee for the Supreme Court, right? (If this nomination thing goes on long enough we'll have to resort to the Greek alphabet for names.) I wrote last week that everybody was saying he almost had to pick "Attila the Hun," but that should have been "Alito the Hun." Yes, Samuel Alito
, who a Democratic Senator called a "right wing wacko," according to Cokie Roberts on Morning Edition, is the new choice and this time he's a long time denizen of the judicial monastery. No fooling around with this nominee; he's "qualified" and he's sure to vote the right way on all the issues the president's rapidly shrinking "base" cares so passionately about.
Now, the Democratic line is sure to shift from what was the previous Republican position that every nominee deserves an up or down vote in the case of Harriet Miers, to the previous, previous Democratic line that this nominee is too far outside the mainstream and should be prevented from getting a vote. The Republicans are now saying this isn't about judicial philosophy but solely about the qualifications, opposed to last time when they couldn't vote for Miers because they didn't know enough about her philosophy (i.e. views on abortion.).
There is sure to be a major fight over Alito and the various special interests are glad to hear it. No one could get it up enough to donate tons of cash for Miers on the bench, but the money will be flowing for this one you can be sure. Christmas has come early for People for the American Way and James Dobson's Focus on the Family. This is the fight the right wingers wanted and they'd better win, because if things don't go as planned the president, their only champion, will be damaged beyond repair thus leaving them in the political wilderness.
The right wing rebellion has already weakened the White House and Sam Brownback is saying they may not be able to count on all 55 Republican votes if the candidate is too far out there, which Alita appears to be. Moderate Republican Senators are going to be leery of jumping off the cliff for Bush and even true believers like Rick Santorum have to be thinking twice about how far he's willing to go, considering he's involved in a very tight re-election bid with a popular liberal pro-choice Democrat. Time is not on the side of the Republicans either. Very soon now, the '06 race will be in full swing and they don't need a nasty filibuster fight going on forever or, even more potentially damaging, a vote on the "nuclear option," which could blow any Republican unity right out of the water.
And then there's the Libby trial: all the conservative elite pundits are sure he's going to be exonerated, but do they really want a very public airing of the inner workings of the vice president's office during the manufacturing of the "evidence" of Iraq's WMD, right in the middle of the '06 campaign? If he pleads guilty to avoid this almost unthinkable option, then they wind up with a convicted perjurer from the administration which the Dems can beat them over the head with. These are perilous times for the GOP, indeed. And what about that Libby indictment?
What's the big deal, anyway? This is case is about one individual doing things all administrations do to counter critics and besides that, an indictment isn't a conviction. Remember, in our system a person is innocent until proven guilty. These allegations of lying are based on the word of journalists and as Pete Williams of NBC News asked, are you really going to take the word of "three journalists...versus the vice-president's chief of staff?" (Williams is a former spokesperson for Cheney
, so he should know something about the character of the man.) I mean, who are these people; Judith Miller is a jail bird and Tim Russert is an obvious liberal fellow traveler and just last night Matt Cooper was on NOW and you know what a biased show that is!
And what about the Plame investigation? No one has been charged with outing a CIA agent; so again I ask, what's the big deal? Perjury? Is Patrick Fitzgerald serious? As Kay Bailey Hutchison rightly pointed out, if there's going to be an indictment make sure it's not on "some perjury technicality." Like William Kristol of the Weekly Standard says, we shouldn't be using our criminal law to resolve, "What is basically a policy and political dispute between the administration and its critics." Besides, I have problems remembering who I talked to last week, never mind two years ago, so how can you expect Scooter to remember all the good work he's done for the American people over the years?
I don't think this indictment hurts the president in the least. Who remembers the name of Al Gore's or George Bush Sr.'s chief of staff? People will soon forget who Scooter Libby ever was. In the overall scheme of things this is just a minor hiccup that will be wiped out by an excellent pick for the Supreme Court and a successful voter turnout on Dec. 15 in Iraq.
The president has 39 more months left in office and he can turn this around, no problem. Now he can go back to doing the business of the American people. As he said on Friday, "I got a job to do and so do the people who work in the White House." Yeah! Let's get those high oil prices under control and work on lifting the tax burden off working Americans. Back to reality:
That's the initial spin I've been hearing from the unrepentant supporters of the administration on all the talk shows. They're pretty weak arguments and I don't think most people are going to buy it. As much as the true believers are going to want to spin Libby's indictments away from why we went to war in the first place---bogus claims of Saddam's WMD----etc.----it will just keep coming up like Lady Macbeth’s damn spot. This entire thing started because Cheney and his minions just couldn't tolerate anyone exposing their lies about the reasons for going to war. The serial lying and the obsession with Joe Wilson's wife by Cheney and the lengths he and Libby were willing to go to is really frightening.
One thing I don't get about this whole mess is why Karl Rove is still collecting a pay check from the American tax payer. When this Plame matter became an issue Bush came out and swore up and down that no one in the White House had anything to do with the leaking and if anyone did, they wouldn't be working for him anymore. Well? Either, Bush knew from the start that Rove was involved, or he subsequently found out about it and Rove lied to him about it, but in either case I don't see how Rove keeps his job. Patrick Fitzgerald says Rove is still under investigation, there is still a Grand Jury looking into his role, but in the strange world of the Bushies this is a good thing. At least he wasn't indicted; we can all breath a sigh of relief! What?
It's really amazing how incompetent the whole effort to undermine Joe Wilson was. Even before the attempted cover up, Libby still managed to bungle the initial character assassination part of the plan, because as soon as Bob Novak published Valerie Plame's name there was an immediate call for an investigation into how he got that name. What did they think would happen when her name appeared in newspapers?
Did they figure George Tenet could just ignore one of his covert agent's identity being broadcast all over the world without doing anything about it? If he had just let it pass, there would have been a mutiny at the CIA. The question is why did he give Cheney the name in the first place? Did he ask Cheney what he needed her name for? Didn't he have any concern at all about what they might do with the information? He must have known what kind of people he was dealing with, having observed their tactics against his own agency while they manufactured their own intelligence in the dungeons of the pentagon. What a spineless toady, no wonder he got a medal!
In any case, this indictment is just the tip of the ice berg. If the Plame investigation does nothing else, it points to a larger malady in our body politic. We have a serious disease and the only way to recover is to remove the malignant tumor. Our immune system, however, our checks and balances, are seriously compromised by having one party in control of two of the three branches. (Or maybe all three?) I don't know what it would take for the Republican dominated legislative branch to actually do their job and check the executive branch which is clearly running amok. The only thing we can hope for is a voter backlash in '06 that will turn the scoundrels out. I'm not holding my breath, though.
One would think the weight of all the scandals and rampant corruption that characterizes the GOP has to come crashing down on them eventually, right? Don't forget Lewis Libby isn't the first administration official to get hauled into the dock; David Safavian
, the former procurement chief, was arrested just last month. Timothy Flanagan
, Bush's choice for the number two spot at the Justice Department had to withdraw his nomination when too many questions about Jack Abramoff
----the great GOP corrupter----kept coming up. Tom DeLay
had to quit his leadership position in the House after being indicted on money laundering charges, Bill Frist
is under SEC investigation for insider stock trading, the head of the FDA, Lester Crawford
, who abruptly stepped down only three months after finally being confirmed, for an as yet unknown reason, is under investigation; Lawrence Franklin
, a former pentagon official, has pled guilty to passing classified information to a foreign government; Grover Norquist
, the king of K Street has cavorted with convicted terrorists and is implicated in nefarious dealings with Jack Abramoff; Ralph Reed
, former Christian Coalition chief and present candidate for Lt. Governor in Georgia, is also involved with Abramoff's funny business with Indian casinos; Michael Brown
, former FEMA director, will be making another trip to congress to explain certain inconsistencies that have come to light in his previous testimony under oath about what he knew about what was going on in New Orleans in the days after Katrina; and who could forget the Ohio coin collection and newly indicted Ton Noe
, former fund raiser for George Bush?
When do people wake up and say, enough his enough? Yes, there's always corruption and every administration has problems like these, but not on this scale. This is a culture of corruption; this is a universe of unbridled criminality. The pundits and the editorial pages are patting themselves on the back saying 'the system works,' because Libby got indicted, but until those names above are all in the court room and out of government, the system is still seriously ill and in desperate need of fixing. Note:
Why is this blog on Al-Jazeera's top 100
at # 85? What's that all about?
Posted by bushmeister0
at 12:33 PM EST