Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Republican Civil War

What makes the whole Libby thing different is that the Republicans did it to themselves.

This is not the Democrats going after Nixon. This is not the Republicans going after Clinton.

No. The right hand man of the most powerful Republican Vice President in history was done in by a lot of other Republicans.

The John Ashcroft Justice Dept agreed with the CIA request to investigate the Valerie Plame leak. Ashcroft’s Republican assistant, James Comey, appointed one of his own, Patrick Fitzgerald, perhaps the only Republican in Chicago.

When Libby lied to Fitzgerald, and in so doing, made Fitzgerald’s leak investigation meaningless, Fitzgerald sought to expand his investigation by going to the same Republican three-judge panel that agreed to expand Kenneth Starr’s investigation some years earlier.

Then, after years of Republican complaints that the press had too much immunity under the First Amendment, Fitzgerald basically had the law completely reinterpreted, and forced a lot of very rich, very well-backed reporters to testify. In fact, the only person who saw, who is likely to see, jail time in this whole enterprise was a reporter for the Republican bete noir, the New York Times.

In the end, a Republican prosecutor got Republican judges to get Democratic reporters to testify against Republican politicians.

All the leading players on both sides of the fence in the Libby trial are Republicans. As far as I can tell, no Republicans were involved in the selection of any jurors. If the jury, as it now appears, was unusually well educated (does that mean that they are presumptively more something or other), then that is the fault of the Republican defense attorneys that allowed those jurors on the panel.

Just like all the leading players on both sides of the issue in the U.S. attorney firings are Republicans. Most of these U.S. attorneys were appointed by John Ashcroft, a former Republican elected official, with the support of Republican senators and congressmen.

Just like a new Republican Secretary of Defense is forcing the generals feet to the fire in the Walter Reed scandal.

But to hear the right-wing media tell it, Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorneys, and Secretary Gates are all bleeding heart liberals trying to bring good conservatives down.

Don’t let ‘em do it, Democrats. Don’t waste your time rearguing WMDs and 2002. Democrats should keep the House hearings focused on the nuts-and-bolts stuff about where the money went. Believe me, they’ll be entertaining enough.

In the Senate, why bother to do anything when no one has the votes? Instead, they might want to spend their time on special projects. By which I mean the Martha Stewart kind.

If Democrats just grind it out, or better yet, just do nothing at all, they can continue to make those Republicans eat each other.

The bones they spit out are those of new liberals -- the Republicans who made Lew Libby’s conviction, the U.S. attorneys firing scandal, and the Walter Reed scandal possible.

So I’d like to welcome, to the liberal side, John Ashcroft, James Comey, Patrick Fitzgerald, and 8 Republican former U.S. attorneys.

I’d like to welcome Secretary of Defense Gates to the liberal side. A good betting pool can be formed by guessing how long Secretary Gates is going to survive in the Pentagon now that he insisted on shedding some light on the Walter Reed scandal.

Most poignantly, I’d like to welcome as new liberals all those poor wounded soldiers and their families – most from Red States, an overwhelming number of whom support the President. Their only crime against the Republicans is to ask the Bush Administration to keep its own promises.

It seems that one group of Republicans has a problem with another group of Republicans. You know, the old fashion type of Republican, who may disagree with me on policy, and even on procedures, and even on what the Constitution says, but at least believes in the primacy of the Constitution and the rule of law.

I wonder what Ann Coulter, new fangled Republican, would call those old fashioned rule-of-law-loving Republicans.