A Whiff of Watergate ?
Last week I showed the four photos above and asked, "What do these men have in common?"
For those too young to recognize two of them they are former Nixon White House aides J.R. Halderman and John Erlichman. The other two are current White House aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
What they have in common is they each allowed power to corrupt. They each misused their privileged positions to punish those they viewed as threats -- personal or political "enemies."
The cliché that applies here is, "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
It takes a special kind of person to shoulder absolute power and not misuse it. We've had them, but they are far and few between. As far as Presidents go I think there may have only been two in my lifetime, Eisenhower and Carter. They were both decent and honorable men who really did have the nation's best interests at heart.
The others abused their office in one way or another. Richard Nixon misused so many organs of government to destroy his perceived enemies I lost count, the IRS, the FBI, the CIA. Kennedy and Clinton misused the aphrodisiac power of their office to manage their personal prostate health.
(I leave Gerald Ford out of this equation because the only thing history will record is that he pardoned Nixon and fell down a lot.)
Ronald Reagan subverted the U.S. Constitution by defying Congressional prohibitions against arming the Contras. (And the only thing that saved him from being indicted was that, by the time he left office, he was no longer mentally competent to stand trial.)
I have no idea what prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is up to, but as a veteran of the Watergate years it all has a familiar scent to it. If I had to guess from what I can grok out of news accounts he will indict Rove and Libby for obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. That would not surprise me. But clearly there was a well organized campaign launched within this administration to undercut the credibility of Ambassador Wilson's revelations. To believe that Rove and Libby were out there freelancing on something so central to the administration's excuse to invading Iraq, is naive to the extreme.
Also, remember, it was not Rove or Libby, but Vice President Dick Cheney who is on tape repeatedly claiming that Saddam had "reconstituted his nuclear program." And recall that it was President GW Bush whose chestnuts were personally in the Niger/yellow cake tale, because he made that explicit claim before the nation and world in his pre-war State of the Union speech.
So, when Wilson exposed that as a bald-face lie in his New York Times editorial you know all hell broke loose at the White House. Do you doubt for a nanosecond that Bush and Cheney did not huddle with Rove, Libby, Condi – (and you wanna bet – Harriet Miers) – to figure out how to blunt Wilson's credibility.
Considering all that, it is entirely possible that the Grand Jury's indictment of Rove and Libby may also cite one or more, unnamed, "unindicted co-conspirators."
Since indicting a sitting President and/or VP would spark – well, who knows what – it's verges on the unimaginable. The closest we ever came to that was when Nixon's VP, Spiro Agnew, resigned when he faced indictment for taking bribes when he was a governor. (That's how Jerry Ford found himself a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.)
If unnamed, unindicted co-conspirator(s) are cited by Fitzerald, it's "game over" for the Bush administration. Speculation precisely who the un-named conspirators are will consume the balance of this administration's years in office. A cloud of criminality will hang over Bush and Cheney. And this time they will not be able to dismiss it as "partisan nonsense." After all, they picked this prosecutor themselves.
It occurred to me this weekend how ironic this situation is. Republicans were delirious when they saddled Bill and Hillary Clinton with prosecutor Kenneth Starr. It was the best of times. Starr dutifully dragged the Clintons through every mud puddle he could produce, real or imagined. Hell, there was even talk of what the President's weenie looked like and who knew what it looked like. There was a Presidential stain on a blue dress. Yikes. Life just didn't get any better. And oh how Republicans relished every seedy, smarmy, mean spirited moment of it!
Now Republicans may have their own Ken Starr on their hands. Because, even if Fitzgerald does not tag Bush and Cheney, and just indicts Rove and/or Libby, that will not be the end of the matter. Negotiations will begin. Will one of them flip -- drop a dime on their boss to mitigate their punishment? Remember what Starr did to the hapless Web Hubbell? Well, the shoe's on the other foot now baby.
Am I taking pleasure in all this? You bet. Absolutely. But not because I give a damn whether anyone goes to jail or not. I don't. What's important about this is that it promises to hobble this administration. And that's very good news for anyone in uniform or a normal tax bracket.
This bunch has shown us what they do when they have the run of the place. They channeled what money Clinton left them in the National Treasury to the already wealthy, they started a war on completely false pretenses, and then they channeled more money to their wealthy friends in no-bid contracts to clean up the mess.
And they weren't done. Before all these legal troubles Republicans were posed to give even more tax cuts to the rich by abolishing the estate tax -- at the very moment Republicans are trying to cut $35 billion in domestic social programs.
What about mounting deficits? Their solution,
Borrow more money from China and run up more debt.
What about reversing some of Bush's tax cuts to the rich?
Ha! Forget about it.
What about the poor?
Let-em eat cake.
That's why I take pleasure in the legal troubles bedeviling this administration. First of all, they richly deserve whatever the legal system can pin on them because it's only a fraction of what they deserve. They are also the most subversive and truely unAmerican cabal to ever occupy the Executive Branch. Sent to Washington to represent all Americans, they instead used their positions of trust to steal from my children and my grand kids and gave it to their friends. Where's my proof? Since they took office America has joined Mexico and Russia as the three countries with the largest disparity between the haves and the have-nots.
Hopefully the liberal application of handcuffs will limit their ability to do any more damage before we can replace them.
Re: Little Ms. Run Amok
If you've been following the reality show, "The Trials and Tabulations of Judy Miller," you know there's more to that tale than is being told. Judy has not come clean.
There's something very fishy about the relationship between Miller and Libby we still don't know about.
What am I insinuating?
Oh, and her employer, the New York Times, the Old Gray Lady -- she's fallen again and can't seem to get up.