Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Libby gets 30 months, Republicans get a touch of the vapours

This is the latest installment of What Digby Said:
I don't know why Scooter is so damned special that everybody in Washington is having the vapors over the fact that he may have to do time. (I know if I were Jack Abramoff, I'd be a little bit miffed that nobody is lifting a finger after the tens of millions I'd funneled to all my good friends.)I mused yesterday that it was because the town elders are circling the wagons around one of their own, and I think that's part of it.

But it appears that this is actually something more and it's beginning to smell very ugly to me. The political and media establishment are making an explicit argument that high level Republicans really should be held to a lower standard than other Americans --- the exact opposite of the argument they made in the Clinton impeachment, where they insisted that a non-material lie about a private sexual matter in a dismissed case was so important that it required a duly elected and successful president be removed from office. Perhaps the problem is simply that the it's a capitol full of lawyers, who tailor their arguments for each individual case. Unfortunately, the only client seems to be the Republican party.

The fact is that the Libby case is simply not partisan. The Democrats were completely out of power and had nothing to do with it, so the cries of witchhunt and prosecutorial misconduct are absurd on their faces. Patrick Fitzgerald is the kind of prosecutor Republicans usually revere --- a by-the-book believer in the letter of the law. Yet they are making these specious arguments anyway and they are quite likely, in my estimation, to make them work, through sheer insider power.

I frankly never cared if Scooter did time or got probation or did community service. But nice people get jail sentences that seem harsh every day in this country and all of Scooter's friends are the first ones to say the judge should throw away the keys. Certainly, George "please don't kill me, please don't kill me" Bush is not known for his compassion when it comes to matters of sentencing. So all this special pleading is especially distasteful coming from these people.

I'm not big on blog triumphalism, but if there is one thing we bring to the table it's that our distance from that milieu brings some perspective to it. And from where I sit we have a decadent elite who rule on behalf of a political party that finds authoritarianism quite appealing --- as long as they aren't personally subject to it. Pardon me for thinking that might not be the best thing for the country.

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