Thursday, March 08, 2007

Oh! How Grand!

I can't believe how willing Republicans are to miss opportunities. In this case, the Libby trial. It's the chance of a lifetime for an epoch-marking jump to the moral high ground. And they're throwing it away.

Because the parallels between the Libby case and the Clinton thing are nearly uniform. Lets accept that there was no underlying crime in the Libby case -- as with Clinton. Lets accept that Libby was the target of a politicized investigation -- as with Clinton. Still, Republicans once said, perjury -- lying to the Rule of Law -- is enough of a violation to stick it to the man. Don't lie under oath! Don't lie to the Country! It's not hard!

They savoured that moral high ground, and why not? It's fun to be Mr. Rule of Law!

But now, when Libby does the same thing, they're willing to throw it away to secure his pardon? Why? Bush/Cheney are finished politically, and it's not like supporting them is supporting the future of the Republican Party. His conviction, unlike Clinton's hypothetical conviction, does nothing to the power of the Bush Administration. A pardon would, indeed, play into the hands of Democrats by being extra-shady. I don't see any crafty political reasons at all to support a pardon. Nor have any of the moral force arguments -- Rule of law, don't lie, etc -- changed since the late 1990s.

Indeed, the only reason for Republicans to change their position, as far as I can tell, is because it's a Republican on the block, this time around. That's it! Why give up such an attractive moral clarity -- a moral victory to savor in your own minds for decades to come -- for Scooter Libby?

Throw him to the dogs, and rejoice over the Clinton impeachment. Don't give him up, and look like hypocrites forever


Tommaso Sciortino said...

I think you're just plain wrong here. Libby's case is not like Clinton's at all. Where Clinton lied on the stand, this is true. But the judge ruled that it was immaterial to the case (so he wasn't impeached as a witness in court, just as a president in congress). Libby on the other hand lied on the stand about something that was clearly a crime - a high crime - trashing the nations security resources for political gain or at the very least criminal negligence with state secrets. The prosecutor said himself that Libby threw "sand in the umpires eye" so when you say "no crime was committed" your assuming something that no one can say for sure.

I seriously expected more from you. Fitzgerald is a Republican. It is not a "politicized investigation" and certainly can't be compared to the Starr prosecution in any way.

Kevin said...

I'm saying that even accepting seriously questionable Republican premises -- Clinton did something horrible, politicized investigation, etc. -- pardoning Libby makes NO SENSE. Not that I accept those premises!

It's just a law school technique I use to work towards common ground. I don't need to win on Clinton or Libby's politicization to make my point, so why fight THAT as well?

Tommaso Sciortino said...

Sorry, I didn't pick up on that though rereading your post it's pretty clear. From now on I'll try to read things thoroughly.

As for the pardon I don't think it'll happen. When has Bush ever stuck up for someone that helped him? Sure he gave Rumsfeld a medal but that only served to validate the choice Bush made in hiring him. Pardoning Libby would serve no similar purpose.

Anonymous said...

Mind you, there is the theory that says that if Libby isn't pardoned, he's going to take a few more people down with him by making deals with Fitz. Would GWB pardon Libby to save Rove?