Lewis Libby’s Impact on ’08

07Mar07

By know, I trust, most of you have heard of the Lewis “Scooter” Libby case. Analysts everywhere have emphasized over and over the fact that Libby’s conviction is the first of an executive branch official of such rank since the 80’s. But here’s what the Libby case really is and isn’t.

For starters, the case is certainly damaging to an administration that finds itself increasingly in shambles; from Walter Reed to failure to act on post 9-11 terrorist attack intelligence to mistaking a man’s face for a quail, the administration definitely has explaining to do. And while flawed Bush administration policies can by no means whatsoever be considered flaws all Republicans have embraced, this is- fair or not- the way a large portion of America will see it come election day. Whether it shall be represented by “America’s mayor,” “the great white hope,” or “the straight talking maverick,” the fact of the matter is that the Republican flag is simply more tainted than the Democratic one at this point.

In my opinion, Libby’s defense offered him literally no chance at success. First off, the claim that he was too preoccupied to remember how he first discovered Valerie Plame’s true identity comes off as slightly ridiculous. Couple that with the fact that he did not even himself testify, and the outcome of the case causes little surprise.

However, what is most important to note is the fact that this conviction in and of itself does not do much damage beyond causing this said “taint.” The conviction, as it now stands, is primarily concerned with the Iraq War scandal. The Liberty Paper’s Doug Mataconis drew an interesting parallel to Martha Stewart yesterday, one that I believe has some merit. He contends that Libby’s case lacks the seriousness many attribute to it because it seems highly unlikely at this juncture that Libby’s discussion of Valerie Plame was illegal. This case was simply a matter of telling the truth; ultimately Libby failed at it, but the consequences are not nearly as dire as some make them out to be.

To end, a (sort of) unrelated joke from Paul Slansky:

What did one juror say after finding “Scooter” Libby guilty of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to federal investigators?

(a) “Ultimately this will have been a big fat waste of time when Bush pardons him.”
(b) “If I’m told something once, I’m likely to forget it. If I’m told it many times, I’m less likely to forget it. If I myself tell it to someone else, I’m even less likely to forget it.”
(c) “I voted to convict Karl Rove, too, but the foreman laughed at me and said, ‘He’s not on trial here.'”
(d) “What the f*** kind of a name for a grown man is ‘Scooter’?”

(a) is a viable choice, excepting the fact that one can’t reasonably think Bush would be inane enough to do such a thing, (c) is plausible, and (d) probably was said too many times to count. No matter, Slansky maintains that the answer is (b). Heh.

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