Thursday, July 05, 2007

Scooter Libby and the State of Political Blogging

As we relaxed and truly enjoyed the Fourth in very traditional style--hot dogs, hamburgers, a little parade, and, of course, the fireworks--with friends and family, we spent a little time surfing the net to see what was up.

Not much: political blogs were flooded with opinion on the commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence. That's a lot of bloviational energy fixated on what, in the larger scheme of things, is really a pretty trivial issue.

Democrats are, of course, predictably outraged. How dare President Bush commute Libby's sentence! They've come up with a number of other cases to show that persons convicted of similarly serious crimes have done jail time, although the facts of each case are difficult to compare.

On the conservative side, bloggers have filled their pages with rationalizations for Libby to skate, while further urging a full pardon. This weekend we met one of those conservative bloggers, Tom Maguire, a Connecticut conservative who writes the popular Just One Minute blog. A likeable fellow who is certainly fun to debate over politics, Tom couldn't resist posting something on the Libby matter yesterday while the rest of us sipped margaritas and watched tornado warnings scrawl across the television screen.

We should've asked him, "hey, Tom, what's the big deal on Libby?" but we didn't.

To us, a bigger story is the British terrorism scare. This should certainly be a big story for Muslims living in the U.S. and Europe. It's one thing for radical young Saudis, Yemenis and Pakistanis to enter a Western country and commit acts of terrorism, but quite another when seemingly respectable, westernized physicians start plotting mass mayhem in the name of their religion. That type of activity casts suspicion on all Muslims living in the West, and can eventually lead to even more serious persecution of even the most westernized of Muslims. There can be no "religious tolerance" for a religion that preaches "death to all infidels."

Going back to Libby, here's the key point: he was convicted of lying to the grand jury. Nothing, including a pardon by the man he lied for, will change that. His career is ruined. True, he could, like his near namesake, Gordon Liddy, turn up as a successful conservative radio host, but his professional reputation is toast. Whether he serves time in jail or not doesn't change anything. Moreover, the truth of the matter is that it was a pretty severe sentence. Putting Scooter in jail doesn't change the fact that "W" and Cheney are still in power, destroying our country, for another year and a half.

Perhaps even more importantly, the Libby trial revealed just how desperate the administration was to mislead Americans on the War in Iraq, and the obsessiveness, particularly of the Vice President's office, in going after anyone who threatened to expose those lies. The right can blog all they want about some perceived miscarriage of justice in the Libby case (the same right wing that fanned Whitewater and the Starr investigation for years) but it won't change the big picture: Bush lied to get us into an absolutely disastrous war that has cost a trillion dollars, killed thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, made us less secure than before 9/11 and tarnished our image in world relations.

(And now we've added to all the wasted bloviational energy on the Libby topic.)

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