The Deciders

by digby

Is it just me or is the DC establishment's circling of the wagons around Scooter just a little bit over the top, even for them? I mean, I can appreciate the fact that he's one of them and they think he's been targeted by a runaway Republican prosecutor and a runaway Republican judge. (It happens.) But this rending of garments over him going to jail is verging on hysteria.

Even Condi, who is known for her calm --- some might say somnambulent --- rhetoric, waxes Hallmark when it comes to Scoot:

SECRETARY RICE: Look, let me tell you what I think about Scooter Libby. I think he's served the country really well. I think he did it to the best of his ability. I think that he is going through an extremely difficult time with his family and for him. And you know, I'm just desperately sorry that it's happening to him and I -- you know, the legal system has spoken, but I tell you, this is a really good guy who is a good public servant and ought to be treated in accordance with that.

The entire "village" is beside themselves over this, in much the same way they worked themselves into a frenzy over Clinton's hallway trysts. It's that same phony, operatic fervor that leaves the rest of the country wondering what in the hell these people are smoking. Libby may be a friend, but these bilious paeans to his "goodness" and excusing his behavior from everyone from Joe Klein to Condi Rice is verging on bizarre.

This case is not hard for normal people to understand. Libby was convicted in a court of law for perjury and obstruction of justice. It happens every day. It was not a partisan witch hunt --- the prosecutor and the judge were both appointed by George W. Bush and confirmed by a Republican Senate. And while there was plenty of kibitzing in the blogosphere, there were no leaks or manipulation of the press by the prosecutor and he's continued to be tight lipped since the trial.

Scooter screwed up, pure and simple and whether it was on his own or to cover for his boss, it doesn't matter. To those of us who live out here in the real world, his conviction is not a surprising outcome. If you screw up when you are dealing with the FBI, the DOJ and the CIA and you get caught --- you pay. End of story. Yet, the DC establishment is weeping and wailing and clutching their pearls over this as if Scooter were Emmett Till while the rest of us watch with our jaws agape at their disorienting, inconsistent worldview that seems to operate on some other plane than the rest of us. When we joke about Versailles on the Potomac, this is what we're talking about.

It is not surprising that people like Scooter Libby and Paris Hilton refuse to accept responsibility for their actions. They are rich and spoiled and don't believe that the rules apply to them. But unlike the limousine liberal Hollywood left, the conservative, law and order DC establishment enlists all of their heavy hitters to keep poor Scooter out of jail no matter what. Here in LA the only one making an ass of herself defending Paris is her mother, who, like the DC courtiers, verbally assaulted the prosecutor and the judge, much to Paris' detriment. It's one thing for a dim-witted socialite to do it in defense of her daughter, but it's a sad day when highest levels of the DC establishment issue puerile threats of political retribution and obscenely assert that "a good man" like their friend Scooter shouldn't have to pay for his crimes.

It seems to me that like provincial elders from the beginning of time, these insiders believe that only they get to decide which witches should be burned and which ones shouldn't. Outsiders like Patrick Fitzgerald, the career federal prosecutor, have no business interfering. Unlike that nice Republican judge, Ken Starr, who they all agreed understood what needed to be done, he's not one of them. Scooter is, and when Fitzgerald held him to the same standard as the little people, he broke their rules.

The problem, of course, is that their "town" isn't really their town and these town elders haven't been elected by anybody. It's the seat of government of the most powerful nation on earth and their little social construct has ramifications for everyone on the planet. When they become screaming gorgons to irrationally protect one of their own (or destroy an outsider) they are telling people that they "are different from you and me," which may have been fine in feudal Europe, but it's a little out of place in 21st century America.

My advice for Scooter is to tell all these crybabies to back off and take a lesson from Martha Stewart, who showed twice the class and three times the grit he has. Shut up, suck it up and do your time. It won't be the end of the world --- he'll have a lifetime of wingnut welfare waiting for him when he gets out and the GOP mafia will take care of his family while he's in the joint. Let's face it, his career in government was over anyway --- anyone closely associated with Dick Cheney now has the mark of the kevorka. No president will ever trust him again. So, show some class and take it like a man. It's not such a bad fate for a man who helped bring misery, heartache and death to hundreds of thousands of people.

I'm not sure what to do about the DC establishment, but something must done. They may run the social circuit in their "town" but they don't own this country and somebody needs to make sure these "elders" understand the difference.