Scooter Libby, We Hardly Knew Ye
The first time I read Scooter Libby's name, it was at the bottom of this document. Remember the Project for the New American Century? They're the folks who outlined our current Middle East strategy, which basically boils down to Bomb the Shit out of Everyone and Take Their Oil, a decade ago, when they were out of power and Clinton was trying to dodge impeachment. Libby was part of that crew, along with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz ... basically the whole nasty team that would pull into town a few years later and change the world forever, and not for the better.
And now, the first of the 25 names at the bottom of that document is finally going where he belongs — prison. Scooter Libby was a lot of things — chief of staff to the Vice President, assistant to the President, National Security Advisor to the Vice President, Grown man with the nickname "Scooter" — but one thing he was not was honest. When the jury came back in the Libby trial, they hit him with guilty verdicts on four out of five charges. But that is only the beginning of the horse-whipping that the Bush administration is about to receive.
Over in Congress, Democrats are looking closely at the reasons behind the firings of eight U.S. Attorneys, likely for entirely political motives. And, of course, there's that little problem over at Walter Reed.
Libby faces up to 25 years behind bars, but he probably wouldn't be sentenced to more than 2-8 years, possibly even 1-4, if the perjury and obstruction cases back in the Iran-Contra days are any indication. Speaking of Iran-Contra, it's worth pointing out that Poppy Bush pardoned six people involved in that mess, including Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger and Elliot Abrams, who, it may also be worth noting, has a position as a Middle East expert in the current Bush regime. All that being said, I think the chances of a Scooter pardon are actually fairly slim. The political price to be paid by the GOP would be huge. It would all but guarantee a Democratic White House in '09, along with big gains in the House and Senate. Unless, of course, Bush waited until after the election to do it. But Scooter doesn't have that much time. His appeal — and the desperate attempt to go to the Supreme Court after that fails — will take no more than a year and a half. So by the time Bush leaves the White House, Scooter will have been in jail for at least four months. Scooter will be damned if he does jail time. So the pardon will have to come earlier, before the election. And it will screw the election for the GOP.
So, I expect that party orders will come down telling Bush to sit on his hands, "for the good of the nation" or whatever. Besides, it doesn't matter to Bush. I don't think Libby can tie Bush to the Plame outing, just Cheney. Which means Cheney could get thrown under a bus if Libby fingers him in exchange for a light sentence. And don't think for a second that Bush wouldn't kick Cheney to the curb. Loyalty means little in these circles, as Scooter "Fall Guy" Libby clearly reveals. In fact, I've been predicting this turn of events for a while now.
But one other thought here. The vice president's office really has no executive powers. Constitutionally, he doesn't do anything except preside over the senate. So, what the hell is he doing with a chief of staff anyway? It seems to me that the vice president's office has been nothing but a sort of shadow government black ops division, in both this and former administrations. What's the good of it? Is this not just a colossal waste of tax dollars for extremely high-priced political hitmen? The whole thing stinks of Dumb and Doom, ace.
So when the other shoe falls, and Libby squeals like a pig, maybe we should just clear out the whole damned office along with Cheney. It seems like the right thing to do. And then, just kick back and wait for the rest of the shoes to fall, like mold off the walls of a room in Building 18. Because, rest assured, they will fall. Metaphorically, D.C. will look like Imelda Marcos' closet when all is said and done.