Bob Franken


July 3, 2007
D.C. Commuting (Bob Franken)
@ 10:32 am

I’ve been taught by the master, my fellow Pundits Blogger and old friend Lanny Davis, in the art of the “Friday Night Dump.” Those of us covering all the public relations disasters of the Clinton presidency, finessed so often by Lanny, never made plans for Friday night.

So I was surprised the White House made this a MONDAY night dump instead of waiting one day to make sure EVERYONE was somewhere else for the Fourth.

But that should be the only surprise. Forget the political analysis that President Bush needs to keep intact what little support he has left. There are actually some arguments for his commuting Scooter Libby, based on the merits, of all things.

The strongest, of course, is the nature of the crime committed. Lying. Hey folks, politicians lie. As former Washington Mayor Marion Barry said in another context, “Get over it.” You don’t send someone from the White House to the Big House for lying, or even for getting caught, which is a much bigger offense here.

Furthermore: No one has been convicted or even indicted for the underlying crime, which was the public disclosure that Valerie Plame was a covert CIA agent. Her husband, Joseph Wilson, had seriously hacked off Libby’s boss, the vice president, by charging the administration misrepresented Iraq’s purchase of nuclear material.

And no one has been punished for the Underlying UNDERLYING lie: the intentional misrepresentation of intelligence about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction — or lack thereof. That deception has sent thousands of young Americans to their deaths.

Of course, Scooter Libby participated in that too. Who knows how much he would have been willing to reveal about all that if he really did go to jail, or how much the president and vice president thought he MIGHT reveal.

This was no surprise.

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