On Friday when the indictments fell down on Irve “Scooter” Libby Jr. for obstruction and perjury, the democrat line of the day was “it’s a sad day for America.” There has been a tremendous blow to the dignity of the White House, a stain not on a blue dress but on the presidency itself, etc.
I’m afraid I gotta disagree. It’s not a sad day. The sad day was when the leak happened in the first place. We all knew it happened and we all knew it happened in the context of much bigger crimes. Back then, we were happy to hear about an investigation, but did anybody believe it would lead to anything? Did anybody think it really meant anything when John Ashcroft, after noodling around for a little while, announced that he was recusing himself? Don’t you remember all the stories we read about how this was gonna be a whitewash, like so many other investigations? Did you ever believe that somebody as high up as Scooter Libby would even be criticized in the media, let alone indicted?
How many people do you know who think Bush should be impeached, but that it’s not worth even trying since republicans control both houses and would never go after a president from their own party? I don’t think I’m the only one who doesn’t expect any of these bastards to ever be held accountable for their actions. That’s why Friday was a happy day for me. This represents a tiny smidgeon of faith in accountability. A little pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel.
Of course, I still cancelled my plans for an Indictment Day cake, patriotic fireworks dislay, champagne toast and Ewok style celebration. ‘Cause all those leaks got my hopes up too high – I thought Rove was going down and now it’s not clear if that will happen. The only thing that’s more of a bummer than Karl Rove going on as usual is the realization that Dr. Thompson isn’t here to write about this whole mess. I bet he would’ve written a good one.
Flipping the channels around right after Fitzgerald’s press conference, I already saw Sean Hannity complaining that since the charges so far are for perjury and obstruction, not for the leak, “there was no crime until there was an investigation.” Yeah right motherfucker, like you don’t go to sleep every night mumbling to yourself about Bill Clinton lying under oath. Let me draw a diagram for you here, asswipe. Clinton lied about getting a blowjob from Monica Lewinsky because he DID get a blowjob from Monica Lewinsky, and he didn’t want people to know. So shit, I wonder why Scooter would’ve been lying about leaking the name of a CIA operative? It’s hard to really figure, it’s all so confusing.
But Scooter has reason to be optimistic. Orville Babcock, the last sitting White House aide to be indicted back in 1875 was actually acquitted after his boss, Ulysses S. Grant, testified on his behalf. Babcock was Grant’s secretary, accused of conspiring with whiskey distillers to defraud the government of taxes and funnel them into the Republican party for Grant’s re-election campaign. Scooter could be acquitted too if George Bush, Dick Cheney or – equally likely – Ulysses S. Grant is willing to testify on his behalf. One sad postscript though: Babcock may have been a free man but he still drowned 9 years later in Florida. So stay on land after this one, Scooter.
(By the way, the reason I keep referring to Scooter by his wacky nickname instead of his last name is not to be informal or buddy-buddy, but because I think it’s funny to imagine this all happening to that yellow nerdy guy from the Muppets.)
A better reason for him to be optimistic: there’s no fuckin way there’s gonna be a trial. Because trial would mean more media coverage of the lies that went into starting the Iraq war. I’m not sure but I got a weird feeling like maybe they don’t want that.
Tucker Carlson of all people made the most insightful point of the TV coverage I watched after Fitzgerald’s press conference. He said that the crime Scooter “allegedly” committed is an incredibly dumb crime. How could he repeatedly tell FBI agents and a grand jury under oath that he learned about Plame from Russert, knowing full well that Russert will say otherwise and that Judy Miller, Matt Cooper, other unnamed witnesses, White House records, and his own notes will prove that he had discussed the topic many times already? These are the lies of either
a) a really fuckin bad liar. This option I guess is kind of plausible considering how incompetent this administration is at other things. But I figure lying would be their bread and butter. They wouldn’t fuck up lying this bad.
b) someone who wants to be caught. Not in the serial killer sense, but in the sense of a fall guy.
I’m going with b. I think a decision was made that Scooter was expendable compared to Karl Rove. And Karl Rove went in and made some kind of deal to put everything on Scooter. On MSNBC Chris Matthews kept saying that Scooter was showing his loyalty to the administration but that they were gonna have to show some kind of loyalty to him to make sure he wouldn’t rat on them.
Well, duh. He knows what the administration will give him: a pardon. He’ll cop a deal for less than the maximum sentence, and then he’ll get pardoned in 2008, maybe earlier. Obviously this has occurred to other people but I’m surprised that people are talking about it like it’s an “if.” What do you mean, if? Can you imagine Bush coming out of office and not giving pardons to every scumbag crook that put him there? Everybody does it. Clinton did it to some of his buddies. Bush part 1 did it to all the Iran-Contra crooks, so that they could go on to be in the Bush part 2 administration or to be correspondents on Fox. And even if it wasn’t standard president procedure, it is obviously the m.o. for this president and his era of personal responsibility. Think about how many people helped him out in 2000 that went on to be nominated for the supreme court.
Speaking of which, I got no doubt that on Monday – before anybody on TV has a chance to mention the name “Scooter” – Bush will give us a special Halloween treat: a scary far right nominee. I’ve seen people saying he’s in a tight spot here but I don’t think it’s as tight as they say. I think he has only one choice: a scary right wing nominee. If he chooses somebody just to the right of moderate, he faces the wrath of his base again. They’ve been supporting him for 5 years on the wink wink agreement that he shares their values, and now he’s got 3 years left to deliver on the promise.
If he chooses anybody ranging from someone who openly opposes Roe vs. Wade to David Duke, the worst he faces is a filibuster. That’s good news for him, it’s back to party unity and that horse shit about “everybody deserves an up or down vote except Harriet Miers but that was different though I can explain.” It’s back to comfortable ground. And they can maybe change the rules to get rid of the filibuster or if not at least fill the airwaves with debate about that. Always better than Iraq.
I’m not happy with these democrats right now. Maybe the “I’ll just be over here if you need me” method they used for Harriet Miers worked as strategy, but it’s not honest. Harriet Miers was clearly unqualified. Yes, it was the possibility that she might not be against abortion that sunk her. But the right wing were correct that she was unqualified. Instead of being happy that everyone in the world can agree on Miers being a ridiculous choice, a bunch of the democrats are pretending to be disappointed, not because the next choice will be even worse, but because she was a good choice! I don’t know if this is the general stance of the party but it’s what all of the democrats I saw on TV were trying to pull.
And since they’re doing that kind of bullshit it’s no surprise that they’re afraid to question what Bush’s part in “Plamegate” or “Scooterpalooza” is. Remember how Bush said nobody wanted to get to the bottom of this more than him? And he was doing an investigation and would fire anybody if they were a leaker? Well geez, looks like he was investigating real fuckin hard there. Him and O.J. You’d think it would’ve gone, “Hey Karl, remember when you and Scooter called those reporters about Valerie Plame? I didn’t imagine that, did I?” “No, of course not.” “Okay.” And then he could’ve just fired them then and saved a bunch of time and money, and those grand jurors wouldn’t have had to take so much time off of work and it would just be better for the economy. But that didn’t happen. Somehow Scooter and Karl managed to slip by Bush’s internal investigation undetected. Oh well, cest la vie. Nobody will ever mention it again anyway so who cares.
When the new nominee comes tomorrow maybe it’ll make us forget about Scooter, who made us forget about the 2000th dead soldier, which made us forget about Harriet Miers, which made us forget about Hurricane Katrina. But I just can’t help but mention that e-mail that got spread around last week, the one from Michael “doing a heck of a job” Brown’s press secretary right in the thick of things. If you missed it, FEMA’s one guy on the ground in New Orleans was staying at the Superdome, emailing Brown directly from his Blackberry to tell him how critical the situation was. He didn’t get a response, but did get a forward from Brownie’s press secretary saying “Also, it is very important that time is allowed for Mr. Brown to eat dinner… He needs much more that 20 or 30 minutes. We now have traffic to encounter to get to and from a location of his choise, followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc.”
At first I thought well, his press secretary is an idiot. But then I realized wait a minute, WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS GUY DOING EATING AT A RESTAURANT ON THAT DAY? Has he ever heard of Cliff Bars? Or maybe his press secretary could go to the Taco Bell drive through. I mean for fuck’s sake, this is the guy in charge of emergency management. I’m sure there are people who work at grocery stores who miss their lunch break because the store gets busy.
It seems like it would be hard to even find a guy that fuckin soul-less and oblivious if you were looking specifically for those qualities. They must’ve had to scour through every horse association in the world to find the exact worst guy for the position. Way to confirm, Bush. You’re doing a heck of a job there.
Well, I know it’s Halloween and all but let’s drop politics. Instead I’ll make a list of my most anticipated movies right now. It’s not that great or anything I just want to end on an optimistic note.
SYRIANA is the one with George Clooney as a CIA agent, based on an actual agent’s memoir. The trailer looks real gritty and the whole thing somehow seems to be about dependence on foreign oil. So I guess if there’s car chases it’ll be in SUVs.
THE ICE HARVEST is probaly not gonna be that great but it’s Billy Bob Thornton in a diamond heist that goes wrong and that’s kind of what I’m into.
THE MATADOR has Pierce Brosnan (he was in some of the James Bond pictures) playing a wacky hitman. But it looks better than most of the wacky hitman movies. Who knows.
LOOKING FOR COMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD is Albert Brooks’ movie where he plays himself, and the US state department sends him to India and Pakistan to study what makes muslims laugh. I never really followed him outside of OUT OF SIGHT but this sounds like a good idea for a movie.
KILLSHOT is based on the Elmore Leonard book and it has Thomas Jane in it. Shit, I’d go watch that even if it was directed by the guy who did SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. Which it is.
THE INSIDE MAN is Spike Lee doing a bank robbery/hostage drama. Denzel is the cop and Clive Owen is the thief. I think it is physically impossible for Spike Lee to make a tight, fast paced movie at this point. But I know he can make a gritty and intense one.
SNOOP DOGG’S HOOD OF HORROR is a horror anthology but instead of the Crypt Keeper the host is Snoop Dogg. You remember him from BONES, he was the one who played Bones. Not sure if this is straight to video or not.
FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS is Clint Eastwood’s movie about Iwo Jima, but also on the same day he’s releasing a separate movie about the battle from the Japanese perspective. Thank you Clint.
SHADOWS ON THE SUN. Speaking of Japan… Steven Seagal has at least 3 movies in the can already but of his upcoming onslaught, the weirdest one will have to be the one where he plays “a burned-out former intelligence officer who runs a medical clinic in Japan just after WWII.”
THE HARD CORPS is most promising of all because it stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and Wesley Snipes, and is called THE HARD CORPS.
and that’s all.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.