Further, no one seems to be suggesting that Libby perhaps has been the appointed fall guy who W will pardon in another recess maneuver should it become necessary.
Whats worse, even the Washington Post editorializes (10-29): nothing in this indictment suggests a broad-based conspiracy that requires endless further investigation by Congress or others. Nor does this case prove (or refute) charges that President Bush misled the country about the grounds for war.
No? Then why did Dennis Kucinich, Ohio congressman and former presidential candidate, introduce a Resolution of Inquiry less than two weeks ago (before the indictment was even announced) demanding that the White House turn over all white papers, minutes, notes, emails or other communications kept by the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) to Congress?
Across Punditland the Democrats are portrayed as a losing party with no agenda. To some extent this is not inaccurate. But its a vicious cycle: no power, no press attention; no attention, things like the Kucinich resolution get only honorable mention as an afterthought, like the tree falling in the forest.
Yet the press had no trouble hanging on every word from Ken Starr. Of course Monicagate was news, but the headlines started long before there was any real evidence and, like Libby, Starr selectively leaked information. Their official positions were different and the crimes were different, but the reasons for leaking were the same: control the story by controlling the information you give the press so that the public is always on your side of the story.
And yet, a New York Times story the day after the Libby indictment says, The Wilson affair is not Watergate, and Mr. Libby's alleged misdeed may seem small potatoes compared with the work of the Nixon-era White House plumbers."
Really? At least the Nixon plumbers were only fixing domestic leaks. How far weve come down the slippery slope of mashed potatoes.
In truth, Iraqgate has much more in common with Iran-Contra than with either Watergate or Monica-Clinton. The line from Libby to Bush is no less direct that the line from Oliver North to Reagan perhaps even more so. In a White House known for its tight controls of staff and message, can anyone actually believe that W didnt know and wasnt part of the strategy? Will W ultimately use and get away with the I didnt know excuse that worked for Reagan in Iran-Contra? Ws country boy, carefully manicured image may serve him here. The faith-based public has been manipulated, with the help of the press, to think Ws good ole boy demeanor is just that of simple folk trying to do whats right.
In an effort at damage control, former New York congressman Bill Paxon was quoted in the Washington Post about the Libby indictment: "There is no one suggesting that this Oval Office occupant has anything to do with this matter." I guess the liberal press wants to ensure that they are fair and balanced. No counter-balancing quote was given, and the sad truth is that there were no media voices actually quoting anyone who implied that all roads lead to Rome.
Although the Iran-Contra scandal was arguably more egregious than Watergate, it got less press. And lets not forget that the neocons were behind the scenes then as well. The early lesson they took from Iran-Contra is important to consider: the more complicated the issues and intrigue of the operation, the more likely you are to get away with it. Watergate made simple: a burglary, a lie, a cover-up of the burglary that went to the President. Straight line. Guilty. Monicagate was simple: sex, a lie, a cover-up of the sex that went to the President. Straight line. Guilty. Iran-Contra was complicated: international arms deals, complex illegal financial transactions. Complex web. Copped pleas with explanations, pardoned without much of a peep.
From an administration that doesnt do nuance, this presidency is mired in webs of deception layered with nuanced corruption. We dont yet know where all the fault lines will be, but it will be the straight line that earns the conviction. So far, Libby is the only straight line.
Besides the complicated trails of Iran-Contra, another lesson learned by the neocons: laws dont matter if the public agrees with your goal. This resonates with the current scandal. Whats most disturbing is that the same players who were involved in Iran-Contra have come back through the revolving door to serve as officials in positions of power one level below the public eye in Ws White House. Pardoned by Bush I, duly appointed by Bush II.
For some reason, the Democrats dont seem to extract the same kind of faith-based loyalty as their Republican counterparts. When Clinton was caught, his party loyalists ran like lemmings. The Bush loyalists do no such thing. In fact, the GOP, with a straight face, characterizes the most corrupt administration in our history, as remarkably clean. Veteran GOP strategist Charles R. Black was quoted in the New York Times October 29: "The amazing thing is that they went almost five years without having any kind of scandal."
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