Sunday, October 30, 2005

Why Scooter Isn't a Perjurer

So Patrick Fitzgerald indicted Scooter Libby on Friday, as was widely predicted on Thursday. But he didn't indict Karl Rove. And the indictment wasn't for "outing" Arlington soccer mom Valerie Plame but for perjury and obstruction. The lie he told? He said under oath he learned Plame's role from a reporter, but his notes show that he learned it from Dick Cheney.

This can't stand scrutiny in a court of law. Scooter's defense, already announced (because it was so obvious, as it's obvious on third and long that the QB is going to throw a pass), is that he didn't recall exactly when he testified. And that's patently obvious.

Here's why: if he had intended to deceive, he would have seen to it that all his notes were destroyed. Or he would have reviewed them to find some way to explain them. A degree of calculation would have served a lie well. But he didn't calculate that way.

Scooter is a big-time lawyer. Let's assume that he understands how prosecutors work and that he would have taken a few steps to protect himself if he intended to deceive.

But he didn't. So I say that he's a busy guy, that this was a little matter for Libby's memory and so an easy thing to forget.

Fitzgerald himself now has to admit that he was given a mandate to investigate an action in which no direct crime was committed. If Plame's "outing" was a crime, we'd expect several to have been charged for it. But the fact is that she wasn't a covert agent and so this was never a crime.

Meanwhile, Howard Dean, Harry Reid and the Ds are representing this as a smoking gun that points to the "big lie" about WMD in Iraq. That's the real embarrassment: that the opposition party has only two stories, Vietnam and Watergate, and they keep trying to repeat them.

We'd like to link to David Brooks column in the NY Times, but one has to pay to read the Times op-ed columnists now, so we won't. We read part of it over the shoulder of the lady seated in front of us on the plane home this afternoon, so we're saying in that special, no-charge, SWNID way what you would have to pay money to read David Brooks say in his way.

As we've said often, it's not that the Rs are always perfectly right or moral, it's that the Ds right now haven't a clue.

Or as Mark Steyn puts it:

But, as I've said before, one reason the Democratic Party is such a bunch of losers is because they're all tactics and no strategy. . . .

The Dems' big immoveable obstacle remains their inability to articulate a set of ideas that connects with the electorate. James Carville and Stanley Greenberg are said to be working on a Democrat version of Newt's Contract with America, but Greenberg's a pollster and Carville's an attack dog. Whatever their charms, these aren't the ideas guys.

Or as the Louisville Courier-Journal's Nick Anderson puts it:

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