Welll, if you believe The New York Times, not only is I. Lewis Libby (what a name) potentially guilty of perjury, but the reason he perjured himself was to save his boss Dick (aka The Vice President, True Ruler of the Universe) from getting entangled in the Plame scandal.
If there is evidence to support this, and if the prosecutor has balls enough to proceed, we may see something we haven’t seen since Clinton: impeachment.
And if things were to go that far (I put the probablility at 80/20 against), would it be right? Would it be just?
Well, let me see. The Republicans bayed for blood when they found out that Clinton got a little piece on the side and then lied about it. The damage to the country: loss of credibility in the President.
In this case I believe the stakes are higher. The transgression that is now being strutted around the media is essentially an abuse of power to settle a personal score.
The Administration, probably without Bush’s knowledge but possibly with, we’ll never know, decided they had had enough of Joseph Wilson’s pesky criticisms, and fought back by playing dirty and outing his wife.
What makes this a particularly ironic abuse of power is that the law that they broke when doing this, the law that protects the identity of undercover agents, was passed by Republicans during the 80s so that they could stop Democrats from revealing all the illegal things they were doing with the Contras via the CIA.
It’s also just incredibly bad managment. If you have an employee that publicly disagrees with you, and you punish him by firing his wife and humiliating him, you are telling the rest of your employees that that is the level of respect you have for them.
Revenge is almost never a profitable enterprise. The proof is the fact that there are no companies listed on the stock exchange who sell it. But in politics, you need to keep people in line sometimes by smacking them around in the press by leaking sensitive information about them. Okay, fine. Happens all the time, and usually isn’t a crime. But in this case…. it was.
The Bush administration has had so many years of unparalleled success at playing dirty (whether it was Kerry and the Swfit Boat Veterans, of Cheney saying that electing Kerry would gaurantee another terrorist attack, or even against their own John McCain during the 2000 primary), it’s easy to see how they believed themselves immune from reprecussions. After all, they had taken the biggest budget surplus and wasted it all on a war that they only got passed by lying to the American public, and for this they were punished with… re-election. So it’s understandable that they wouldn’t think twice about putting that pesky Wilson in his place and setting an example to all those other loud-mouth political insurgents.
I hope that this thing does blow up. I hope that the Democrats are able to do something they ahven’t done in five years and muster the energy and skill required to keep the story in the public eye and get people’s attention. I hope all of this because I would like nothing better than to see the administration get a little taste of their own medicine.
Politics is a dirty business, and whatever idealistic goals the people who enter it may have, in order to show sustained success, you need to get dirty. But there’s a difference between playing dirty and being just a plain old mean son of a bitch. And I would hope that a politically meaningless player like Valerie Plame would end up putting the Vice President of the United States into an impeachment trial just to prove a point…
…what goes around. Comes around.