Patrick Fitzgerald's Diary:
Watching Them Flop, Squirm, Flip
By Bernard Weiner
Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers
October 26, 2005
This is like shooting fish in a barrel. Of course, I'd heard about the
incompetence of this White House crew -- and the arrogance that makes them
so sloppy in covering their tracks -- but despite their lies and
amateurish attempts to conceal their involvement, their fingerprints are
all over the place.
Rove as the Genius, the Architect, the Ringmaster, running a tight ship
with no leaks? These dangerous clowns are total screw-ups. And wimps. Many
are willing to finger each other big time to escape the felony counts, or
at least lessen their criminal liability. It's embarrassing to watch them
flopping around, sending out their lawyers to drop a dime on a fellow
Getting some of them to flip on their superiors and colleagues was fairly
easy. I just let them have a whiff of what was in store for them unless
they agreed to cooperate -- the possibility of long prison terms does
concentrate the mind -- and, voila, first one and then another and then
another eagerly took the bait. Even Rove and Libby, through the press, are
playing "hot potato," trying to make sure the other guy is caught holding
it. In short, it's the night of the long knives in the Bush
I've readied myself for the slime attack, but the fact that I'm a
straight-arrow Republican-type guy (in fact I'm not registered with a
party), appointed by the Bush Administration itself -- which provided me,
in writing, full powers to follow the crime trail wherever it leads --
offers some protection. The initial Bush talking-points are really silly
-- that I'm engaged in "criminalizing politics," or that I'm a "son of a
doorman," as if that class-biased epithet is some sort of terrible slur,
or that I've "run amok" and am going after this crew for "minor"
violations of law, "technicalities" like perjury and obstruction of
justice. If that's the best they can come up with, they are truly
pathetic. (But not surprising; check out Karen Hughes demonstrating her
gross ignorance of foreign affairs while touring Indonesia last week,
claiming Saddam gassed "hundreds of thousands" of Iraqis! This gang can't
shoot straight, think straight, maybe even pee straight.)
WOULD BUSH REALLY TRY TO FIRE ME?
A digression, diary, for some practical thoughts here: Will Bush order
Gonzales to quash the sealed indictments and fire me before I can take
this White House crew to trial? I know Bush is dumb, but I don't think
he's stupid. Look what happened to Nixon when he fired the Watergate
special prosecutor, Archibald Cox. Or maybe Bush will consider pre-emptively
exercising the presidential pardon-power, as his father did in the
Iran-Contra scandal years ago, even before any charges were filed; Bush Sr.
got away with it in the last months of his presidency, maybe Jr. will
wonder whether he should try it with three years to go. He might figure:
"What have I got to lose? I can only be impeached once, and this way there
won't be any trials I'll be subpoenaed to testify at, thus taking me out
of perjury-jeopardy. "
On the other hand, Bush and the GOP leaders know that if he attempts to
fire me or hand out blanket pardons in this case, the American people
wouldn't put up with that kind of obvious save-your-ass, dictatorial
behavior, and that would be the end of Republican political dominance for
a decade or more. Republicans supporting Bush would lose any hope for
re-election in 2006, and they know it.
No, I think the GOP legislators and behind-the-scenes movers and shakers
(symbolized by Brent Scowcroft's frontal attack on the Bush Administration
this week) will agree to throw the big guys and neo-cons overboard --
maybe even support an impeachment resolution -- and hope they can recoup
their investment with more intelligent, competent conservatives.
Maybe Bush is hoping that by dumping Rove and Libby -- and even Cheney if
it comes to that (resigning for "health reasons," of course ) -- he'll be
able to stanch the bleeding just below him: a kind of political
tourniquet. Throwing Haldeman and Ehrlichman over the side didn't work for
Nixon, but it did buy him a bit of time until the inevitable reckoning.
Probably wouldn't work for Bush either -- without Rove, he's flailing --
but what other options does he have for ultimate distraction other than
bombing or invading another country? Rice has offered the scenario and the
likely country: Syria. Don't want to "weaken" a President during "wartime"
-- that would be the operative spin.
TEXAS-STYLE POLITICS IN D.C.
Even with all those political pressures and dangers aimed my way, I love
this job. I love watching leaders in positions of power squirm and sweat
when they realize we've got the goods on them -- thanks to their inferiors
flipping on them -- and they'd better come clean if they want to save
their necks. Politicians and corporate honchos are my favorites, since
they rarely deal with anyone other than yes-men and fawning supporters and
aren't all that proficient in concealing evidence.
I'm glad I'm a Chicago kind of guy. We've seen big-league corruption for
decades and know what it smells like and how to deal with it. These Texas
types, thinking they could simply bring their bullying and corruption and
lies into the nation's capital, got away with their in-your-face act for a
long time, but eventually ran into the brick wall of reality and D.C.
hardball. I'm proud to be part of that wall.
Not that I set out to take down American political leaders, but what they
were doing to our country's traditions sickened my stomach. At times,
looking at the evidence of how the Bush Administration operated, I felt
like I was in Stalinist Russia or something, with the leadership running
roughshod over the laws and the Constitution, approving state-sanctioned
torture, and sending off to war hundreds of thousands of young soldiers on
the basis of gross lies and deceptions.
Did they really not realize that the cover-up is always worse than the
original crime, and is usually what gets political leaders into legal
jeopardy? Did they really think that the case would stop with the few
officials that participated in Ms. Plame's outing? It's always the same in
these dirty scandals: Pull one thread and then another, and pretty soon
the tapestry is gone and you've located the hole leading to the political
sewer. Here it was the White House Iraq Group's retaliation against
Ambassador Joseph Wilson to keep the truth from getting out about the WMD
whoppers being used to con the Congress and American people into
supporting a war against Iraq. They'd been planning that war for years,
and they would let nothing upset their using Iraq as a staging ground for
altering the Middle East's geopolitical realities and keeping control of
the world's dwindling energy supplies.
BUSH&CO.'S TRAGIC FLAWS
The Bush inner circle probably would have gotten away with everything, but
just smearing those who were criticizing them wasn't enough for them; they
couldn't resist the temptation of illegally attacking them as well.
Insecurity and arrogance are the tragic flaws in this White House. They
really believed that their behavior would not be challenged or catch up
with them; after all, their ideological buddy Ashcroft was Attorney
General at the beginning of the probe, and the so-called "liberal media"
(ha!) never really took them on. On the contrary, the media ignored or
downplayed all their various deceptions, lies, manipulations, bunglings,
and policy mistakes.
But this White House cabal had to be stopped, and I guess, since the
Democrat Party and the media weren't going to do it, or were too scared to
do it, willy nilly I found myself in the position of being a vehicle for
their removal. I didn't ask for the job, and the magnitude of what I found
myself dealing with was daunting -- this crew had an amazing amount of
slime and dirt to sift through. But I am glad to be one of those vehicles
of change, as I truly love this country and hate to see it ruined by
bumbling ideologues and take-the-money-and-power-and-run types.
Now, who will investigate and get indictments for those responsible for
the running-sore that is America's badly-corrupted election process, the
ongoing voter-fraud and vote-tabulation scandals? Don't look at me -- I'm
a bit busy at the moment. Call Elliot Spitzer.
Copyright 2005, by Bernard Weiner