Friday, October 28, 2005

So This Is Fitzmas

by Tom Bozzo

The time of the post notwithstanding, I've spent most of the day driving to the place with the Lego store, Punch Neapolitan Pizza, and Grandma's House, and so the only thing I heard was Fitgerald's press conference on NPR; I am for the moment unsullied by other blogiversal reactions to Fitzmas.

I won't lie and say that I wouldn't have been happier with a Rove indictment under the Fitzmas tree. (I'd have needed a case of champagne and a subsequent trip to detox had Cheney been implicated, too.) My crackpot theory of Rove is that the day-to-day quality of his strategery is not in line with his reputation as the generation's most fearsome political operator, and it helps Bush much less than one might think to have him stay in his job.

Fitzgerald did a fine job avoiding the remotest appearance of bias one way or another, and conveying the gravity of the charges leveled in the indictment. On NPR, Joe DiGenova readily agreed that the charges against Libby were no trivialities.

One of the more interesting questions for how this will play out is whether the Washington press corps gets a spine transplant. Clearly, Fitzgerald's questioners were very interested in the question of why Libby might allegedly be perjuring himself and obstructing justice. Naturally, it takes much less advanced mathematics to provide a probable answer for the blog (i.e., Biggus Dickus suggesting offhandedly that they will Cheney Wilson), or for investigative reporting, than to prove a criminal case in court. The charges highlight that Scott McClellan had repeatedly lied to the press about the involvement of Libby and Rove in the affair, among other things, and that may transgress boundaries of submission for most of them. Maybe not Judith Miller, but most of them.
You're right about Rove. His perceived abilities are very over-hyped.

Where are my props? I predicted no indictment for Rove and no indictments for the actual "crime" of "outing" Valerie Plame. We'll see how my prediction turns out that soon this story will go away because most people have never heard of Scooter Libby. The outlook is good. Remember Gore's Chief of Staff or Quayle's?

Obviously Libby is in serious trouble. But, the buck stops there.
Still no props?
Props on Rove are premature. For one thing, the money quote on Rove is:

"The Special Counsel has advised Mr. Rove that he has made no decision about whether or not to bring charges and that Mr. Rove's status has not changed," said Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, in a statement released this morning.

I expect we'd both be fascinated to know what Rove brought to the table to get his last-minute reprieve.

As for the context, I don't think it's credible to say that Libby was perjuring himself and obstructing justice to cover up purely his own doings. You're telling me that the strengthly Cheney-Bush national security team can't keep its senior staff from blowing the cover of CIA operatives? How do you expect them to win the GSAVE like that? I find E. J. Dionne's take more convincing.
Regardless of whether Rove is indicted (which I don't think he will be), I was trying to put out the Fitzmas flameout in advance. The fact that Fitz charged Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice and not outing Plame signals to me that Rove will be fine. If outing Plame was a crime, and Fitz was unable to charge Rove on perjury or obstruction of justice, he would have had to charge him with the actual crime for justice to be served. No indictment means to me that Rove told the truth and did not commit a crime. Whereas Libby did not tell the truth and may or may not have committed the original crime being investigated.

The media is easily manipulated these days by both parties and stories are over-hyped with speculation to the extent that the actual truth is boring. If you want the Dems to win big in 2006, keep pounding on the disaster in Iraq and our soaring deficits. The Wilson scandal has no legs.

Another prediction: Unless there is some unknown skeleton in his closet, Alito will be confirmed easier than Clarence Thomas was. No filibuster. He gets 60-65 votes.
Bryan: The issue with the obstruction count is that the lies make it difficult or impossible to prosecute an underlying crime. That's somewhere between total justice and nothing, IMO.

I do agree with you on the real issues. Give 'Em Hell Harry seemed to have the Iraq part of that under control yesterday. Not that a trial that brings out issues as to how we got into Iraq would hurt at all, moreso if the strategy is to pin everything on Libby via an incompetent CEO defense.

Your Alito prediction is noted.
Sorry for commenting on an older post, but I wanted to post on one that was relevant.

Woodward now comes out and says he could have told Libby about Wilson's wife. Libby's argument that he first heard about Wilson's wife from journalists seems a bit more reasonable, eh? Of course, it's Woodward instead of Russert that he heard it from, but still, the perjury and false statements indictments are at least partly based upon Fitz's belief that Libby was the start of the chain of this leak. Libby apparently was not the start of the leak and he had heard about Wilson's wife from Woodward.

My guess is some or all charges against Libby will be dropped. And the investigation will have to focus on the actual first leaker who Fitz likely knows (unless more journalists come out of the closet). The leaker is probably at the State Dept. and doesn't work there anymore. As long as the leaker tells the truth, he/she will not be charged, because the original leak wasn't even a crime.

What a waste.
Bryan, I'd been wondering what happened to you...

You're offering essentially the view of Libby's defense team, which is to say the most positive take possible. From what I've read, the Woodward stuff at most alters some relatively inconsequential pieces of Fitzgerald's narrative, but doesn't really go to the specific charges against Libby. I just don't know enough to say more about the case.

Politically, it seems like a choice between a knife in the left side vs. a knife in the right side for the Bushies. Really, if this were to get Libby off the hook by creating doubts about the motives for his mendacity, what does it say for their national security meta-narrative? Loose lips sink ships!
just been reading and enjoying, rather than commenting.

BTW, I am writing a paper right now in lab. It turns out the main thrust of Intelligent Design research is in protein evolution (ie, proteins are so complex that they could not have evolved and could not exist without a designer). 3 of the 4 total 'peer-reviewed' papers that IDers cite are on protein evolution, and two are actually in a good journal (JMB; though the author does not mention ID at all in the text). My current work sheds light on one part of this and supports evolution. Shocking, I know. Normally it might just be 'another result on top of the overwhelming evidence for evolution', but in light of the ID push into the protein evolution area, it may make my data a bit more interesting. I may contribute something to society after all.
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