October 30, 2005

David Brooks On The Democratic Reaction to Scooter Libby

From Drudge Report (thanks Drudge - good to not have to pay for access the New York Times):

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald did not find evidence to prove that there was a "broad conspiracy to out a covert agent for political gain. He did not find evidence of wide-ranging criminal behavior. He did not even indict the media's ordained villain, Karl Rove," writes David Brooks in Sunday's NY TIMES.

"Leading Democratic politicians filled the air with grand conspiracy theories that would be at home in the John Birch Society."

"Why are these people so compulsively overheated?.. Why do they have to slather on wild, unsupported charges that do little more than make them look unhinged?

Brooks quotes from an essay written 40 years ago by Richard Hofstadter called "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." Hofstadter argued that sometimes people who are dispossessed, who feel their country has been taken away from them and their kind, develop an angry, suspicious and conspiratorial frame of mind. It is never enough to believe their opponents have committed honest mistakes or have legitimate purposes; they insist on believing in malicious conspiracies. "The paranoid spokesman," Hofstadter wrote, "sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms -- he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization." Because his opponents are so evil, the conspiracy monger is never content with anything but their total destruction."

Brooks summarizes: "So some Democrats were not content with Libby's indictment, but had to stretch, distort and exaggerate. The tragic thing is that at the exact moment when the Republican Party is staggering under the weight of its own mistakes, the Democratic Party's loudest voices are in the grip of passions that render them untrustworthy."

I have been somewhat reluctant to comment on the Scooter Libby indictment. After all, it really is not much of a story.

Scooter Libby testified before a grand jury. The prosecutor found that testimony to be inconsistent with the testimony of several other witnesses. As such, the prosecutor indicted him for perjury, etc.

For about two years, the Democrats have discussed the "criminality" of the supposed outing of Valerie Plame by the evil Republican administration. Yet, two years and a grand jury later, there has been, in fact, no indictment for the original crime being investigated - and there will not be.

So, how exactly does the Scooter Libby indictment further the Democratic agenda? I sincerely doubt it will . . .

The indictment does make the Bush administration look bad, however, that will only be temporary. Most people will likely forget all about the indictment within a couple of weeks.

Contrary to many Democrats' beliefs, this will not lead to a further discussion on the Iraq War. The alleged false testimony had nothing to do with Iraq or Joe Wilson's Niger expedition.
Most likely, the Democrats' elation about the indictment is nothing more than the feeling of payback. The Republicans dogged President Clinton with "special prosecutors" throughout his entire presidency for various crimes.
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