Monday, March 26, 2007

Sing, Fat Lady, Sing

Okay, it's not over yet. But the warm-up acts are deep into their acts now, and I'm not even sure a sudden confrontation with Iran can halt the slide of the Bush Administration into near-total irrelevance, and not a moment too soon. It's the next best hope after impeachment.

What changed today?

Sure, there's the Senate Republicans saying the don't stick their necks out for no one, at least not for this President anymore. They're not liking where he's leaving their election prospects for '08. But the morning started with two Conservative columnists abandoning El Presidente like an unwanted piece of trash.

Plame villain Robert Novak, of all people, in light of zero GOP support for lying Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the Sunday political talk shows, declared Bush, well:

With nearly two years remaining in his presidency, George W. Bush is alone. In half a century, I have not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress -- not Jimmy Carter, not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment.

Ah, that "i" word again. Cropping up more and more.

Novak prefers the "i" word of incompetence:

The I-word (for incompetence) is used by Republicans in describing the Bush administration generally. Several of them I talked to described a trifecta of incompetence: the Walter Reed hospital scandal, the FBI's misuse of the Patriot Act and the U.S. attorneys firing fiasco. "We always have claimed that we were the party of better management," one House leader told me. "How can we claim that anymore?"

I'd add the response to Katrina and the decision to gin up a war with Iraq, but I think incompetence is ultimately a dodge for a rotten ideology. Or maybe it's just an ideology that breeds incompetence.

Unlike Novak, however, the dean of American Conservatism, William F. Buckley, weighed in today more about another "i" word, again after invoking President Nixon's pending impeachment, that of "intent":

Of one thing Mr. Bush is manifestly guilty. It is the criminal (in the metaphorical sense) mismanagement of the whole business of the U.S. attorneys. The fault is not personal; it was probably the attorney general and other advisers of the president who took so many clumsy steps. But Mr. Bush's stress on his rights invites a coordinate stress on his responsibilities. "These attorneys," he said, "serve at my pleasure." Right. But presidential pleasures have to rest on defensible grounds.

That's two generations of Conservatives throwing in the towel.

Then there's the sudden revelation that 95% of Karl Rove's emailing is done through his Republican National Committee account. This is troubling from the point of view of using the White House for blatant Party gain (you know, like in Communist China), for appearing to be Rove dodging having all of his emails preserved per Federal law on White House communications, and maybe worst of all as a security breach.

After all, if the White House is maybe the world's highest value intelligence target, do we really want 95% of the emails to and from the man closest to our President going outside of governmental servers?

Come out of your dressing room, opera star -- hard rockin' Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and his Administration Oversight Committee just directed the RNC to preserve all White House emails. I imagine the RNC will. Who wants to keep breaking the law for these clowns?

Because the great big shoe that dropped today was a side-drama that will play out over the next few days or week. It turns out that:

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's senior counselor yesterday refused to testify in the Senate about her involvement in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Another "i" word! And they said it first.

Josh Marshall, who's owned this story from the start, gets the help of his readers in exploring why the Fifth Amendment doesn't apply for Ms. Monica M. Goodling, who was Justice's liaison with the White House. Meanwhile, this terrified lackey was handling all the communications between Gonzales and Rove. A more cynical writer might wonder why they've still let her live.

Maybe she's thinking "trial" because yesterday the Bush's former deputy secretary of the Interior was convicted of lying to Senate investigators in the Jack Abramhoff scandal. Maybe everyone is starting to see the shape of endless years of attorney fees, court dates, jail time. Maybe everyone is starting to think they might have engaged in something that could be construed as, let's say, criminal.

It happened to Scooter. It happened to Reagan's men in Iran-Contra. It happened to all of Richard Nixon's men. Breaking the law sucks. I mean, for everyone else all the time, but for you especially when you get caught.

What's triggered Ms. Goodling's plea o' the Fifth can only be, as Josh writes of her lawyer's letter:

On page two of the letter, Goodling's lawyer asserts as the fourth reason for her refusal to testify that "it has come to our attention that a senior Department of Justice official has privately told Senator Schumer that he (the official) was not entirely candid in his report to the Committee, and that the official allegedly claimed that others, including our client, did not inform him of certain pertinent facts."

His name isn't stated. But this appears to be a reference to Deputy Attorney General McNulty, the subject of this post from earlier this evening. Here we finally appear to have a bad act that Goodling believes or at least claims may expose her to criminal prosecution -- lying to Congress by proxy by intentionally misinforming an official about to testify before Congress.

Just watching this from the outside, it looks as though that is the bad act she's afraid to testify about or -- and somehow I find this more believable -- she's afraid of indictment for perjury because she has to go up to Congress and testify under oath before the White House has decided what its story is. And yeah, I'd feel like I was in jeopardy then too.

Wow, another President, another Monica. Maybe she'll get that immunity deal one can only assume she's angling for. Maybe that's a trap, or maybe that's all Patrick Leahy has to do to bring down Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales, and maybe George W. Bush as well.

I say sing, Monica, sing.

The Fat Lady is waiting in the wings.


Anonymous said...

I have a feeling the use of an outside email server(s) is going to blossom into a mammoth prob from the repugs. I don't know the law, but if they can't protect this email traffic (and I'm betting they can't), we may all get to see our wildest conspiracy theories justified. Think: Nixon tapes on steriods.

(PS: you can probably expect in the next 48 hrs to see some light shined, just as a sideshow, on what sort of goofball courses are offered at the two goofball christoversties where this babe Monica got her degrees. That should be pretty entertaining.)



Mark Netter said...

No way the outside email services are protected by executive privilege.

I'm wondering if we'll see some Jeff Gannon action in there as well!

Anonymous said...

Thing is: if these criminals were using the RNC server to hide their nefarious deeds -- with the expectation of privacy -- then EVERY piece of slime from the last 6 years is going to be in there -- a veritable treasure trove of malfeasance. (Sort of a Valachi Papers of the Bush Crime Family.)

I'm not sure I can stomach any Gannon hot manly love action, though.


Mark Netter said...

Go, Jeff, go!

Anonymous said...

FYI: Make sure you check out today's Michael Ware/CNN clip that's making the rounds today -- his response to Sen. Doubletalk's Blather about Baghdad becoming peaceful and safe. It's a pretty contemptuous smackdown.

I find CNN/USA almost unbearable, but ten minutes per day of Ware and Cafferty make it almost tolerable.

(PS: Anna Nicole's still dead.)