Rule 'O Law

by digby

Glenn Greenwald notes that the neoconservatives reflexively defend their crooks, no matter what they have done:

But what has become increasingly apparent of late is that the rejection of the rule of law finds expression not only on a political level -- as a license for political leaders to break the law to advance the neoconservative political agenda -- but it also serves as personal immunity for individual neoconservatives who are charged with breaking the law or committing serious ethical violations.

When it comes to instances where neoconservatives stand accused of criminality and other wrongdoing, the same neoconservative movement which shrilly advocates the virtually complete abolition of limits on federal power to detain and punish people -- a movement which mocks every notion of due process or restraints on federal power as terrorist-loving subversion -- suddenly reverses course and begins reflexively defending the accused, complaining that they are the victims of wrongful prosecutions and overzealous government power.

Ain't it the truth. But it isn't just the neos. It's the religious and the old-line establishment right too. Listening to most of the GOP presidential candidates defend that lying weasel Scooter Libby in their debate the other night was astonishing. Here's Sam Brownback, the Christian Right candidate:

Moderator: OK, let me go to a question that's more ephemeral and it is passing and it will decided in the next several months. We'll go down the line again. This isn't as much fun as cutting taxes. Do you think Scooter Libby should be pardoned.

(Unknown)[It was Brownback]: Let the legal process move forward, and I'd leave that up to President Bush. And I think he could go either way on that.

Moderator: The judge is going to rule on that case next month and decide whether he will be in prison during his appeal. Would you let it go, let him be imprisoned?

[Brownback]: At this point in time, I would leave that up to the president, if at the end of the term, he decides to let him out.

Moderator: You don't encourage him to repeal, to...

[Brownback]: I would see willingness to go either way on that, because the underlying facts of this case are ones where there was not a law that was violated. So what they're saying is: OK, you didn't remember right, and that's what you're being prosecuted, and that was what you were guilty for. And, my goodness...

Isn't that a stirring defense of the rule of law? It's funny, he had a very different take on another case that hinged on lying to a grand jury about something for which there was no underlying crime:

On August 17, 1998, William Jefferson Clinton swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth before a Federal grand jury of the United States. Contrary to that oath, William Jefferson Clinton willfully provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony to the grand jury concerning the nature and details of his relationship with a subordinate Government employee:

A. Testimony that conflicts with Ms. Lewinsky's account of the relationship:

Ms. Lewinsky testified as to the extent of her sexual relationship with President Clinton, and her statements were corroborated by numerous individuals with whom she contemporaneously shared the details of her encounters with the President, including two professionals. Her testimony indicated direct contact by the President with certain areas of her body. The conduct described by Ms. Lewinsky clearly falls within the definition of sexual relations as President Clinton understood the term to be defined in the Paula Jones case and during his grand jury testimony.

In his prepared statement to the grand jury, President Clinton stated that the sexual encounters between he and Ms. Lewinsky 'did not constitute sexual relations as I understood that term to be defined at my January 17th, 1998 deposition.' President Clinton acknowledged that the type of activity described by Ms. Lewinsky constituted sexual relations as he understood the term to be defined during the Paula Jones' deposition: 'I understood the definition to be limited to, to physical contact with those areas of the bodies with the specific intent to arouse or gratify.' However, during questioning under oath, President Clinton repeatedly denied engaging in the activities described by Ms. Lewinsky.

President Clinton was even asked by a grand juror whether 'if Monica Lewinsky says that while you were in the Oval Office area you touched [certain area of her body that falls within the definition of sexual relations as understood by the President in the Paula Jones case], would she be lying.' President Clinton responded: 'That is not my recollection. My recollection is that I did not have sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky and I'm staying on my former statement about that.'

If Ms. Lewinsky's testimony is true, President Clinton committed perjury during his grand jury testimony. I have had the opportunity to read the portions of grand jury testimony provided by both President Clinton and Ms. Lewinsky concerning their characterizations of their sexual relations. I also had the opportunity to watch Ms. Lewinsky's videotaped deposition in which she reaffirmed her previous grand jury testimony concerning the extent of their sexual relations. Based upon (1) the corroboration of Ms. Lewinsky's testimony by numerous witnesses with whom she had spoken contemporaneously, (2) the detailed nature of Ms. Lewinsky's testimony, (3) the evasiveness of President Clinton's testimony, (4) the apparent sincerity of Ms. Lewinsky in her videotaped deposition before the Senate, and (5) the President's refusal to be deposed by the Senate, I find that the President provided false and misleading testimony before a federal grand jury that constitutes perjury.

Now, I realize that Brownback probably belives that the "underlying crime" was "direct contact by the President with certain areas of her body with the specific intent to arouse or gratify" but that hasn't actually been codified by law. (Yet.) In that case, he was willing to remove a duly elected president from office for failing to remember if he had touched Lewinsky's naughty bits with an intent to gratify. Scooter Libby, on the other hand, "misrembers" under oath almost a dozen different conversations in which he publicly names an undercover CIA agent and the prosecutor has overstepped his bounds in prosecuting him. This is the level of integrity we are dealing with, even among the pious believers who run on the character platform.

But that's not all. Among what now passes for the conservative establishment old guard, it gets even worse. (You know what's coming, don't you?)

Rush is one of those rare acquaintances who can be defended against an assault challenging his character without ever knowing the "facts." We trust his good judgment, his unerring decency, and his fierce loyalty to the country he loves and to the courageous young Americans who defend her.

There is no corner of the conservative movement that has any intellectual integrity left. The neocons may be on the hotseat right now because so many of their brethren have recently been proven asses. But the tribe defends Ann Coulter and Limbaugh with even more fervor. Meanwhile, they are crawling over each other to jump the good ship Codpiece after years of slavering obeisance to every puerile utterance. Let's just say that consistency isn't one of their strong suits either.