Stop the CelebrationsThe left's post-Scootergate fist pumping has begun. They see this is a case of the elusive rule of law triumphant. However, comments by some trial participants intimate that while Scooter may be guilty, bigger fish wiggled free. That tantalizing observation is probably true - but like Fitz said - the investigation is over and unless Scooter decides to flip, that's where things will end. Many will cry foul, but that's how the law works, you're innocent until proven guilty no matter how much smoke seems to be coming from your kitchen. That's how it should be.
Although the fireworks and champagne are understandable, they miss an important point - we all lost.
The investigators presented charges not about the original crime, but for lying about it. These are surely serious felonies, but they pale in comparison to the alleged outing. Fitzgerald himself opined that the outcome leaves a cloud over the administration - unfortunately, only one of many in the Katrina-like swirl battering it - but this cloud is an especially dark one.
The unanswered questions about the outing have some nasty blowback. They validate the idea that the politics of personal destruction is alive, well, and living large in Washington. As the saying goes, "absolute power corrupts absolutely". In the Paris Hilton style, the powerful and famous often begin to believe their own propaganda. In the Big Dick's case the me uber alles thinking goes a something like this: "I'm the good guy, so whatever I do to retain my power is completely justified. Might makes right." Crushing your opponent with dubious charges to prove your personal and ideological superiority isn't always illegal, but it is unfair.
Although I'm sure he'd rather become a democrat than admit it, Cheney's behavior is not unlike Bill Clinton's. Bill smeared several women to hide his inability to keep his dick in his pants. It happened so often his handlers had a name for it - "bimbo eruptions". Bill would kiss, the victim would tell, and the smearing would begin. Bill repeated this cycle over and over, arrogantly believing his chickens would never come home to roost.
But then they did.
Bill's Humidor Honey
Bill's humidor honey - Monica Lewinsky - started doling out BJs like a politician hands out favors to cronies. As far as I know, BJs in the Oval Office are stupid, but not illegal. However, lying to grand juries is illegal and that's clearly what Bill did. When caught in the lie, he accused his accusers of the politics of personal destruction - a pretty bold claim from one of the world's top practitioners of that black art.
He didn't go to trial because, as lies go, his were fairly small and didn't much harm the nation except for a few jokes on late night TV and a cold shoulder from Hill. He did pay a price though - a pretty heavy one. He was impeached for his offenses, leaving a black stain on his administration for all time. I'd say that was a pretty fair punishment for a stupid crime even the prosecutors admitted would almost never go to trial in "the real world".
Cheney hasn't gone on trial at all, even though the prosecutor and a fair amount of evidence indicates he may have done more damage than any perky mouthful of Presidential penis. Just as Bill threw Monica under the bus with his, "I did not have sex with that woman" it looks like the Big Dick tossed Scooter out as his roadkill proxy. Let's not quibble with Fitzgerald's decision to forgo charges to Cheney. It was his decision to make, although he thought other forces may have been at work. However, in both the Clinton and Cheney cases, the stench of hubris hangs heavy in the air.
The Biggest Loss of All
Many will argue the damage in one of the cases far outweighs being relegated to the couch in the Presidential living quarters. In Cheney's case, the damage may quite literally be incalculable. It would appear from the known evidence that Dick's transgressions were far worse than Scooter's, yet he lives to do battle another day. His hubris not only remains unchecked, but the trial has reinforced his belief in Vice Presidential infallibility. He figures that if some poor bastard has to take the fall for him, it's all in the service of his - or the greater - good, whichever rationale fits.
The problem is, dear Dick, that isn't true. And that sad fact is the biggest loss of all.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Wednesday, March 07, 2007