What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Why all the bad blood against Scooter?

It is always painful, even a tad Socratic, when a decent man stands up against the mob and tries to demonstrate his innocence. That's what Scooter Libby, a formerly well respected issues advocate and Patron Saint of Politics who now does political dog duty, has done over the last few months as he arduously fought to prove his innocence to a blood-hungry, finger-pointing, culpability-seeking jury.

Yesterday, Scooter lost his battle and was convicted of four out of five felony counts. Ignored by the jury were this man's stellar record on Capital Hill, exceptional history as a career lawyer and immaculate facial features whose innocence only a blind man could doubt.

Maybe some of the jury members were blind.

Based solely on the evidence of a newspaper columnist, the testimony of his back-stabbing colleagues and a US Ambassador, a “recorded” telephone conversation and some circumstantial data, an otherwise innocent man has been convicted of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements.

(The distinction between “perjury” and “making false statements” is, of course, a very important one.)

It’s not just that Scooter has been convicted of some crimes; he has been emasculated and castrated, yes castrated, to the bone by those he once thought were his friends. The high ranking people who used to have offices next to his are pretending Scooter never existed that his contribution to this nation never happened. Scooter has been vaporized. His name has been dragged, like Messala, through the mud behind a chariot. He has been trampled underfoot like so many lions and cobras and left behind to rot. His political math turned negative and his “friends” gave him the boot.

The eminently qualified news media inform us that Scooter has the dubious honor of being the highest ranking government official to be convicted of a felony since the Iran-Contra days, which were, if you are a teenager, a long time ago. And the scape-goats back then weren’t as pretty as Scooter. Pity.

After some appeals and related rigmarole, most of which could bore Justice Ginsburg to tears, Scooter will scoot (get it?) down to the Big House and serve out the penalty for his “crimes.”

When he is released, some two or three years from now, he will write a book that purportedly accepts the blame for his actions but actually subtly points some fingers. The book will become a New York Times bestseller and Scooter will use the money to campaign against prison violence. Like Bill Clinton before him, Scooter will no longer have any political significance.

Scooter may feel some amount of self-centered commiseration at the predicament in which his actions have left him hanging. But he shouldn’t feel too bad about his plight: in the old days, a politically unpopular or inconvenient person was taken into the woods and shot (we still haven’t found Jimmy Hoffa’s remains).

Today we have a very organized and civil method of disposing of our unpopular personas. Its supporters call it Justice; it’s antagonists, passing the buck. This time round Scooter was left holding the cheese and he’ll be the one taking the flak and fulfilling the obligations of this modern Justice. But by the time he has served his sentence, Scooter may be wishing for the old days.

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