Libby The Fall Guy

While Libby has been found guilty, those responsible for ordering the obstruction of justice, as well as for the actions taken against Wilson and Plame for Wilson’s exposure of lies about the war, remain free. It appears some of the jurors also see it this way. Editor and Publisher quotes a juror of saying Libby was just the “fall guy.”

A spokesman for the jury that convicted “Scooter” Lewis of four counts today of perjury and obstruction of justice today in a federal courtroom told reporters immediately afterward that many felt sympathy for Libby and believed he was only the “fall guy.”

Denis Collins said that “a number of times” they asked themselves, “what is HE doing here? Where is Rove and all these other guys….I’m not saying we didn’t think Mr. Libby was guilty of the things we found him guilty of. It seemed like he was, as Mr. Wells [his lawyer] put it, he was the fall guy.”

He said they believed that Vice President Cheney did “task him to talk to reporters.”

Collins said, “some jurors said at one point, ‘We wish we weren’t judging Libby…this sucks.” More than once he said many jurors found Libby “sympathetic.”

Asked about Vice President Cheney not testifying, he said, “Having Cheney testifying would have been interesting.” And when the defense opened the trial by suggesting that Libby was scapegoated by the White House, “I thought we might get to see President Bush here.” But Collins said Libby not testifying was not such a big deal since they’d listen to nine hours of tapes of his earlier testimony.

Fitzgerald has been approaching the case similar to how prosecutors often go after mob cases, unraveling one layer at a time. The trial revealed more, at least to the public if not to Fitzgerald, about how the Bush/Cheney mob operates. Hopefully the Libby prosecution was just one step along the way of going after those above Libby.

Guilty, Guilty, Guilty, Guilty

Libby has been found guilty on four counts.

Now that the obstruction of justice charges are dispensed with, will we see an indictment on the real crime? Will Fitzpatrick indict a sitting Vice President?

Fairy Tales of The Right

Jacob Heilbrunn reviewed two books on the Bush administration for the New York Times. Leviathan on the Right by Michael D. Tanner shows the faults in big-government conservativism from a libertarian perspective but Heilbrunn argues that Tanner is repeating unfounded myths common on the right:

Tanner is a lucid writer and vigorous polemicist who scores a number of points against the Republican Party’s fiscal transgressions, but he has ultimately produced a fairy tale. The notion that Reagan actually fought for small government is wishful thinking. The Gipper didn’t abolish a single major federal agency, he strengthened Social Security by approving a payroll tax hike and he added $1.4 trillion to the national debt. It was Bill Clinton who left behind a $236 billion surplus in 2000, which Bush promptly squandered. Contrary to Tanner and many other Reagan idolaters, Bush hasn’t forsaken Reagan’s legacy; by engaging in simultaneous tax cuts, massive military spending and deficit spending, he has continued it.

What’s more, Tanner glides rather easily from linking the corruption of the Republican Congress to big government. There is no necessary connection between the two. The fact that a Republican Congress looted the government on behalf of big business and itself does not discredit Social Security, Medicare and a host of other programs. It simply testifies to the venality of the Republican Congress. Perhaps Tanner’s most questionable claim is that “politically, for all the internal disagreements, support for a strong national defense remains the glue that holds the various wings of the Republican Party together. The debate that will truly matter is whether or not conservatives still believe in small government.” Like it or not, conservatives such as Tanner will have to grapple with the political, moral and fiscal consequences of an imperial foreign policy.

While libertarians and fiscal conservatives are correct in their opposition to many of Bush’s policies, the Republicans have never been the champions of small government which they claim to be. In past years they often blamed Democrats who controlled part of government, promising that things would be different if they could really do what they wanted. Finally we had several years of complete government control of all three branches of government, as well as a news media which allowed them to get away with virtually anything without meaningful exposure. We saw the nightmare which came of that.

Heilbrunn also reviews It Can Happen Here by Joe Conason, believing Conason might be over reacting to some of the excesses of the Bush administration:

Whatever its intentions, however, the hallmark of the administration hasn’t turned out to be Machiavellian cunning but sheer ineptitude. Rather like the American cold warriors who insisted that the Soviet Union was vying for world domination even as it was going poof in the late 1980s, Conason seems reluctant to recognize that the conservative movement has been heading toward collapse. Far from consolidating a right-wing dictatorship, Bush’s actual political legacy may well turn out to be resuscitating American liberalism.

Regardless of how inept the Bush administration might be their court appointees will continue to have an impact for years to come. Although the public has awakened to their incompetence following Katrina and Iraq, many still do not recognize how bad the policies of the Bush administration have been and there is no guarantee that similar conservatives won’t be elected in the future. There is even the danger that voters will not understand Heilbrunn’s message quoted above and blame government itself for the problems arising from Repubican rule and fall for Republican rhetoric again.