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By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers
God, that was humiliating! I've never taken a dive before, and it showed. I was sweating like a pig as those senators used me like a punching bag.
Obviously, I couldn't tell the truth about the U.S. Attorneys situation, or the whole enterprise would collapse -- Karl, Dick, The Boss, the whole lot. Ain't no way I'm going to the slammer, at least not tripped up by anything I've said.
If the Demoncrats are going to get me, they'll have to prove it, and I don't think they'll be able to locate anything but circumstantial evidence. The cleaning crew did its work well. I hope.
So there I was in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee coming off like someone with early-onset Alzheimer's: "I can't recall," "I've wracked my memory and have no recollection," "that meeting just isn't in my memory," and a hundred other such variants. Embarrassing!
Sure, it was obvious I was lying my head off, but they can't get me for a "faulty memory" or for when I said "I believe" that such-and-such happened or didn't happen. I know my way around the magic words. We rehearsed for days so I'd be comfortable using those terms and delivering my lines with believability. (Who was it that said "once you can fake sincerity, the rest is easy"?)
Yes, everyone knew, even my Republican friends, that I was sent up there as a grand deflector, and they were pissed as hell that it was just me in front of them and not Cheney or Rove or Bush. To the senators, I was disrespecting them, treating them like easy marks; they'd just as soon I depart my job ASAP. But they are dumb marks, thinking they're in control of the situation when in reality, as long as we all keep our various stories straight, we still are.
STILL IN CONTROL OF JUSTICE
We figure my immediate humiliation will pass in a week or two, and I'll still be in charge of the DOJ, from where we can control the pace and direction of the anti-Bush Administration flak coming our way -- especially with regard to impeachment. And our replacement U.S. Attorneys will still be in position to help us for the 2008 election, doing whatever they can to minimize liberal turnout (it'll be "Democrat voter-fraud" big time) and to protect our Republican office-holders.
After my testimony, as we expected, the Democrats have been blustering and raging, along with a few turncoat Republican weaklings, scared of losing their seats if they don't cut their open support of the Bush Administration. But the whole mess should blow over quickly, since "I serve at the pleasure of the President" and he's not going to throw me to the wolves, no matter how loudly they bay.
Bush values loyalty and my years of serving him faithfully (sometimes drawing, how shall we say?, slightly outside the legal lines), so I think I'm safe for the time being. But, they've let me know that if the situation doesn't calm down, if things get really hot for the Administration because of me, I'm expected to resign. A pardon, maybe even a pre-emptive one before indictments are unsealed, should cover me down the line. (It worked for Bush's dad when he was President, pardoning Iran/Contra scandal figures before they'd even been charged.)
THE NIXON & REAGAN PARALLELS
I know my history. I know how Nixon kept throwing one after another of his assistants overboard in Watergate in order to protect his closest and most loyal aides, Haldeman and Ehrlichman, who knew every illegality they and Nixon and the rest of the crew had committed -- and then had to dump them as well to try to save his own hide. So I know I'm ultimately expendable, but we'll try to keep that day from ever happening. (But if Goodling and McNulty and Sampson at DOJ start dropping bombs on me, that may not be possible. And like Haldeman and Ehrlichman, I know where the bodies are buried as well.)
So, yes, I was thrown back into history with the Nixon parallels. But I had another deja vu experience, this one going back to President Ronald Reagan.
Remember when Reagan, with a straight face, said about the Iran/Contra Scandal: "A few months ago, I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not."
And there I was the other day responding to the senators on whether or not I mentioned to President Bush that I had received complaints from Rove and Senator Pete Domenici about that New Mexico U.S. Attorney: (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/19/AR2007041900981.html )
"I now understand there was a conversation with myself and the president."
And pundits pundit-ed and folks laughed, and I had to endure satire like this supposed "translation" of what I said from some creep named Archer at the Lawyerworldland blog, which is now circulating around the internet all over the goddamned world: (
"In the dim dawning light of understanding, understanding that I never had before and which, miraculous to relate, I have now, I begin to grasp -- only because it has been explained to me and I couldn't grasp it myself and don't believe it's really true, but people who are much smarter and stronger than I am have made me understand, or perhaps have brainwashed me ... Yes -- that's it -- people have kept me up late and interrogated me night after night until I now understand there was a conversation with myself (see how crazy I really am?) and the president. But I only understand that now -- I didn't understand before, because whatever has been done to me to make me say this stuff, whatever terrible victimization I have endured (and no, I don't remember what it was, so it must have been terrible) had not yet been done to me."
That's not funny, diary; it's too close to the bone. We should find the traitor who wrote those hurtful words -- which casts aspersions on our fine roster of DOJ lawyers and U.S. Attorneys around the country, along with the soldiers in Iraq -- and send him somewhere for some robust questioning.
PEELING AWAY PROTECTIVE LAYERS
The Democrats really want to get Cheney and Bush in the Senate well, and Rove under oath at a committee hearing, on trial for their jobs. But they know they can't get to them. Yet. So they are peeling away at the outer core of the onion -- with inner-circle folks like me.
Already preparing themselves for likely subpoenas and interrogation on various matters: Rove and Harriet Miers and Condi Rice and maybe Stephen Hadley.
We could all go down on this deal and all the associated "White House Horrors" (as John Mitchell termed the hidden Watergate secrets), what with our manipulating the voting process, harsh interrogation methods, extraordinary rendition, abandoning habeas corpus as a protective judicial concept, etc. etc. Those pinko liberals hate that we take all that law-and-order stuff seriously. We use the law and keep them in order.
So the trick is not to go down. I think I'd better fasten my seatbelt. We're all in for a mighty bumpy ride during the remaining year-and-a-half of our Administration's tenure. If we last that long. #
Bernard Weiner has peeked into numerous diaries of Bush Administration officials ( http://www.crisispapers.org/weinerpubs.htm#diaries ); a Ph.D. in government & international relations, he has taught at universities in California and Washington, worked as a writer-editor with the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently is co-editor of The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org). For comment: email@example.com .
First published by The Crisis Papers 4/24/07.
Copyright 2007 by Bernard Weiner.
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has taught at universities in California and Washington, worked for two decades as a writer-editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently serves as co-editor of The Crisis Papers (more...)