It sure has been a cushy, day at the spa ride for the Bushies the past six years, hasn’t it? While every one has opinions on yesterday’s verdict re Scooter Libby, the question looming large at the moment is whether this is the end the CIA/Plame matter, or the beginning of the end of the Bush administration.
Arianna has a juror’s thoughts and diary of the trial that is a fascinating read into the minds of what the jury was thinking as the trial unfolded (“I think they’re lying. Every one of them,”). And, similar to comments made by other jurors yesterday after the verdict, the one theme that keeps coming up over and over was “Where is Cheney? Where is Rove?” Where are the other White House flacks who engineered and implemented this smear of Joe Wilson and Val Plame in order to keep the lid on their cooked intel regarding the gin up to Iraq?
Andrew Sullivan, whom I loathe quoting under most circumstances, argues that Congress should use its subpoena power and call Cheney to the mat, under oath, about the matter. And if he won’t testify, then impeach and remove his dumb ass. I’d second that, mainly because as I and others have been arguing for almost four years now, the entire Val Plame/cooked intel story begins and ends with Cheney.
And how funny was it that Fitzgerald left the door open for Libby to roll over, if he wants to: “If information comes to light or new information comes to us that would warrant us taking some action, we’ll, of course, do that.”
Regardless, the president enjoys unlimited power when it comes to the pardon. I was amused to see conservative rags “call on the president to pardon Libby”, as if doofus was sitting there in the Oval Office yesterday going, “Hey, I’d never thought of that, what do you think, Dick?” And already the Republican shills are clanking into motion with their usual talking points.
Predictably, leading Dems called on Bush to “promise not to pardon Libby,” which is analogous to another non-binding, irrelevant resolution.
My guess? As I’ve written already, my bet is Libby is pardoned in the waning days of the administration, rather than right before he goes to prison. At best, with appeals and pre-sentence investigations, the maximum they could drag this out might be the summer of ’08. After that, Scooter has to go the slammer, at which point Bush either pardons him then or waits to keep it out of the campaign for ’08.
And given that the entire Iraq War was about domestic politics (see also: the timeline of events at Frank Rich.com) they probably told Scooter, “Look, do six months, it’ll be a minimum security, Club Fed institution; you won’t have to play drop the soap or make someone a nice girlfriend; and you can use those six months to start your next novel,”).
That’s why I think Sullivan is right about this. Forget non-binding resolutions or strategeries to get us out of Iraq, and instead pull out the subpoenas and blow the lid off, once and for all, the false reasons we went into Iraq in the first place. That will end the war faster than all this political ’08 posturing. Subpoena both Bush and Cheney. Force their hand, ala the Nixon tapes in’74. Threaten impeachment if necessary. Do it now, before they escape the culpability of the office in less than 20 months.
[sigh] So why won’t that happen? Not just because the Dems lack the intestinal fortitude to take Cheney et al to the mat, but because exposing the lies for what they are will blow the campaigns of Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and every other Senator who voted for the IWR in ’02 right out of the water. They have nothing to gain from a death match with the White House, and everything to lose.
It’s unbelievable, really. As the administration circles the drain with this, the Walter Reed roach motel scandal, and the Putsch at the Justice Department, the wheels are coming off at an alarming rate. And yet I sense no ultimate comeuppance for this group in the offing.
As everyone thumped their chests yesterday with pronouncements like the “rule of law prevails” and so on, the pessimist in me keeps thinking we won’t ever see the proper legal conclusion to the crimes committed by this administration.
But I can always hope, I suppose.
Cross posted from Article of Faith