March 7, 2007
St. Patrick and the Snakes
By Mary Lyon
Sorry, but I can't resist. Must be the deeply-ingrained Catholic in me. It's March, okay? Pretty early in the month, but already we have a real-life St. Patrick of sorts. That would be Patrick Fitzgerald, whose latest achievement gives new meaning to the nickname to the onetime Boston politician and Kennedy ancestor - "Honey Fitz." Fitzgerald's prosecution went four for five against former Cheney Chief-of-Staff and Aide-to-the-President Scooter Libby. Fitzgerald convinced a jury on both perjury counts, the obstruction-of-justice count, and one of two lying-to-investigators counts in the case surrounding the outing of CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame. This "St. Patrick," if you will, didn't drive all the snakes out of Ireland as legends suggest. But he did bag one fairly sizeable one. And he cleared a path to a nest of many others. However, the challenge now is in the considerable slipping and sliding going on around him, and whether any of it will amount to anything further.
Reaction statements have floated down around this "St. Patrick" like so many dancing leprechauns. And like so many of those little green charmers, these land with nary a sound nor a thump. Barack Obama decries the subversion of foreign and national security policy by "leaks and innuendo" - which he says should never happen again. Hillary Clinton tiptoes around the "L-word" (LIE) by saying the Bush administration "wasn't forthcoming" and how we need to keep our intelligence accurate and free from politicking. John Edwards goes for "consistent misuse and manipulation" for the sake of an agenda, and "serious questions about whether the buck actually stopped with Scooter Libby." But he won't hit the nail with a hammer, either. While he merely hints about Americans deserving "to know if Mr. Libby has been made a scapegoat in order to protect anyone else," his former running mate is a tiny bit more direct. John Kerry calls for Bush "to live up to his own promises and hold accountable anyone else who participated," especially Dick Cheney (yeah, SURE he will). And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flirts with " a troubling picture of the inner workings of the Bush Administration" and fishy operations "at the highest levels" of this White House. So? Madam Speaker, we already know this.
Well, okay, I guess that's a wee bit better than nothing. Nothing - such as what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offers - telling Bush he better not pardon Libby. Yeah. Sure. Like Bush will ever pay much attention to him (immediately after he bows down to John Kerry's forceful dictum)!
Frankly, these folks, who are all supposed to be on OUR side, seem to be slithering around in almost as slippery a fashion as Karl Rove. I don't know why they dare not come straight out and just say it. What are they afraid of - that they'll get voted back out of power tomorrow? Why can't they even go as far as to say, flat out, that Libby LIED? The Libby jury says he did. Even many of our highly intimidated media are at least doing that now, too. I don't know why they don't show at least a little bit of backbone (perhaps the spine they've been saving for some rainy day, since they're not using it to end the war in Iraq ). I don't know why they can't even speak of the next logical step from this point: launching an investigation to pick up where the Fitzgerald prosecution left off, with all its freshly opened and unlocked doors. The way's been cleared. The groundwork has been laid. The jury said "Guilty" four separate times, so that's now solidly and unavoidably established in the record books. It now goes into the public perception that way. Guilty of lying and obstructing justice. And the juror who met the press afterwards even gave directions - specifying the obvious and inevitable suspicions. He quoted fellow jurors as wondering why Scooter was the only guy taking the rap here, and where the others were - specifically mentioning Rove and friends.
If Obama and Clinton are so concerned about this not happening again, and about rehabilitating the integrity of our intel, why aren't they asking some hard questions, or issuing subpoenas? If they're not in the appropriate committees, why aren't they pushing for this among colleagues who are? Why haven't they stood up and announced concrete steps being taken toward accountability? Or is it just more comfortable to slither around it? If Edwards or Kerry can state that there are serious questions to ask, why aren't they putting muscle behind them? Kerry can still do that as a Senate insider. And rather than hinting that something's amiss in the highest heights of the Bush regime, can't Nancy Pelosi order Silvestre Reyes to steer his House Intelligence Committee hearings back toward a probe of pre-war intel? And doesn't she see enough justification, by now, to put IMPEACHMENT back on the proverbial table? Before the last election, she was asked what the best part of being the majority party was and she replied "subpoena power." Okay, fine, then. We all worked our backsides off to give them that majority status, so why isn't she swinging it like a shelaly, now that it's hers?
We don't get nice, hard Irish batons. We get more slithery snakes. Our latter-day "St. Patrick" has left plenty of 'em still squirming all over the ground around our feet. I can't tell which is worse - the creepy-crawlers who've caused this mess, or the creepy-crawlers who'd rather not kick up much of a fuss about it. If I'm stuck with snakes anyway, I'd at least like the ones on my side to have fangs and be willing to use them, rather than the enemy vipers who still seem to own the monopoly on the killer venom and the forked tongues.
Have you called your Congressperson today?
Do it TOLL FREE, via the Capitol Hill switchboard:
(800) 459 - 1887
(877) 851 - 6437
(800) 828 - 0498
(866) 338 - 1015
(866) 340 - 9281
(800) 614 - 2803
(800) 718 - 1008
Then go DO something about it.