Enough Is Enough; Comparing the Clinton and Libby Cases

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 13, 2007 | Go to article overview
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Enough Is Enough; Comparing the Clinton and Libby Cases


Byline: Tod Lindberg, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

It's hypocrisy season in Washington. No, not that there's an unusually great amount of posturing and flagrant contradiction of previously stated principles that are no longer politically expedient. The amount of that in Washington is consistently high. I mean that allegations of hypocrisy are in the air, thanks to the guilty verdicts in the Scooter Libby trial.

Specifically, the question is whether Mr. Libby should receive a pardon from President Bush, and how your answer to this question happens to square with your view of Bill Clinton's lies to the court in civil proceedings and before the Kenneth Starr grand jury. Can you in all consistency support letting Mr. Libby off the hook, having favored the impeachment and removal from office of Mr. Clinton? Can you in all consistency have maintained that Mr. Clinton was being railroaded while wanting to see Mr. Libby in the slammer?

But that's different, both sides maintain. Mr. Clinton was just lying about sex, which is what you do when you are fooling around, whereas Mr. Libby was lying in an effort to cover up a White House attempt to discredit an administration critic, an abuse of power and position. Or, Mr. Clinton actually told premeditated lies to the grand jury in the context of having mustered his entire administration in defense of his deception, whereas Mr. Libby plausibly claims that his problem was a faulty memory.

Or, how about this? The mushrooming independent counsel investigation into Mr. Clinton was politically motivated from the beginning, whereas the Patrick Fitzgerald investigation began with a legitimate CIA referral to the Justice Department over a serious national security matter, which the Justice Department appropriately decided to send to a special counsel in order to insulate an investigation into high-level White House misdeeds from potential political pressure.

In the alternative, Mr. Starr was following evidence of criminality where he found it, leading to (among other things) his conviction of Clinton crony Webb Hubbell, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, for stealing from his clients and partners at the Rose Law Firm, whereas Mr. Fitzgerald knew from the start of his investigation who the leaker was, whom he did not charge. There was therefore no crime for him to investigate, and he should have could closed shop then rather obsessing over a supposed White House plot he could never find evidence for.

There is often a paradox to the charge of hypocrisy, namely, in many instances the person leveling it is acting just as hypocritically in making the charge as the person he or she is accusing.

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