"If there's any scandal at all here, it is that this entire episode has been allowed to waste so much government time and media attention, not to mention inspire a 'special counsel ' probe. ...now Mr. Fitzgerald has become an unguided missile, holding reporters in contempt for not disclosing their sources even as it becomes clearer all the time that no underlying crime was at issue. " --The Wall Street Journal, 7/13/05
Even before Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald announced an indictment in the CIA Leak Case, the Republican spin machine was working overtime to trivialize the investigation. Conservative commentator Laura Ingraham nailed the Republican talking point on NBC's Today (10/24/05) when she suggested that Fitzgerald was merely trying to "criminalize politics "; and Senator Kay Baily Hutchinson (R-TX) compared leaking the identity of a CIA operative to the Martha Stewart case (where no "real " crime was committed).
"I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. " --Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), 10/23/05
...and what would a Republican spin campaign be without Fox News.
"According to a database search, every single television reference to the CIA leak scandal as the "criminalization of politics " in the last 30 days has been on Fox. Even more stunning: on every occasion, the phrase was introduced into the segment by a Fox News anchor or correspondent, never by a guest. " --Nico Pitney, Center for American Progress, 10/18/05
Fox News had already demonstrated its deep concern for national security when John Gibson declared that Karl Rove deserves a medal for leaking the CIA agent Valerie Plame 's identity because her husband opposed the war and "Valerie Plame should have been outed by somebody. " --Fox 's The Big Story, 7/12/05
When the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter " Libby for perjury, giving false statements, and obstruction of justice was announced; there was a feeling of vindication among the true believers. There was no real crime --just technicalities --a clear case of criminalizing politics.
The Republicans seem to have conveniently forgotten the little investigation they championed during Clinton 's presidency. After the Starr investigation had spent six years and 50 million taxpayer dollars, investigating every nook and cranny of President Clinton 's personal and professional life; the Republicans finally impeached the President for what they considered to be a most serious crime ....perjury (about sex).
"It 's not a question of sex. Sexual misconduct and adultery are private acts and are none of Congress ' business. It 's not even lying about sex. The matter before the House is a question of lying under oath. " --Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), leading off the impeachment debate.
"I am completely and utterly perplexed by those who argue that perjury and obstruction of justice are not high crimes and misdemeanors ...Perjury and obstruction hammer away at the twin pillars of our legal system: truth and justice. " --Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 2/12/99
"There is no serious question that perjury and obstruction of justice are high crimes and misdemeanors ... The crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice are public crimes threatening the administration of justice. " --Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) 2/12/99
"Obstruction of justice and perjury strike at the very heart of our system of justice ... Perjury is also a very serious crime ... Perjury perverts the judiciary, turning it into a mechanism that accepts lies-so that injustice may prevail. " --Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH), 2/12/99
"As constitutional scholar Charles Cooper said, 'The crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice, like the crimes of treason and bribery, are quintessentially offenses against our system of government, visiting injury immediately on society itself. ' " --Senator George Voinovich (R-OH), 2/12/99
"Perjury and obstruction of justice are crimes against the state. Perjury goes directly against the truth-finding function of the judicial branch of government. " --Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), 2/12/99
" ...there can be no doubt that perjurious, false, and misleading statements made under oath in federal court proceedings are indeed impeachable offenses ... "--Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), 2/12/99
In the fall of 1998, as the Republicans were whipping themselves into a frenzy of righteous indignation over Clinton 's lies about sex, 16 major polls found just 26% of the public supported Clinton 's impeachment (more than 60% did not even support hearings to consider the impeachment). Despite this overwhelming lack of support, the Republicans when right ahead and impeached Clinton anyway. They had no choice. He had lied.
But that was then --this is now; and more importantly, Clinton was a Democrat. Lying is okay for Republicans.
A Zogby poll, released November 4th , found that 53% of American adults agreed with the statement: "If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment. " So when do the impeachment hearings start?
If the Bush Administration manipulated intelligence and lied to draw America into a costly, unnecessary war --don 't the Republicans care? Do they really believe that lying about sex is more important than lying about the justification for war?
A majority of Americans (and the rest of the world) believe that America is headed in the wrong direction, and the Bush Administration shows no sign of changing course. If the Republicans continue to offer aid and comfort to this small group of neoconservative imperialists, We the People must change their course next November.
Author 's note: Before someone points out that President Bush hasn 't lied under oath ... It is only because he has not been questioned under oath. Start the investigation, put him under oath; and he will lie --he has to. That is what he does.