October 28, 2005

HERE’S A HUGE ROUNDUP of Libby-related stuff from the Wall Street Journal.

Also Austin Bay has thoughts:

The White House will make another political mistake if it decides to try to defend Lewis Libby. Fortunately –for the country, for the health of America’s governmental institutions– the Bush White House hasn’t pulled a Clinton and trashed the prosecutor. By and large the Bush Administration has respected the judicial process. A Clintonesque trash-the-prosecutor tactic probably wouldn’t work, anyway, given the national press corps’ pro-Democrat bias. Clinton could rely on the national press to amplify his tawdry demonization of Ken Starr. The national press hates the Bush Administration.

If Libby committed perjury he did so out of arrogance. The most likely scenario is this both simple and sad: Libby thought he could get away with it. But then so did Clinton. Clinton lied to a federal judge and lost his bar license for five years. It’s time to give the Beltway Culture a kick. If he’s convicted, Libby should serve time. No one is above the law. If Libby is judged innocent, then he’ll continue to practice law in Washington. As I recall, one of his former clients was Marc Rich (the mega-felon pardoned by Clinton in the waning days of Clinton’s administration).

I should have thought of that — conspiracy theorists, take it away!

On the question of what Libby was thinking — well, if the charges are true, it beats me. I actually had an email the other day from someone who used to practice law with him, and who expressed disbelief that a lawyer as smart and careful as Libby could get into this kind of trouble. Part of the problem, I think, is that working at the White House makes people stupid — between stress, sleep deprivation (which is no joke in that setting), constant flitting from crisis to crisis, and general bubble-ization, past a certain point people get effectively dumber the longer they stay. Is there more to it than that? Who knows. Fitzgerald didn’t make it sound like there’s a lot more here, but I suppose we’ll see.

UPDATE: Here’s a transcript of Hugh Hewitt’s interview with former prosecutor Andrew McBride, who — like Austin Bay — thinks highly of Patrick Fitzgerald’s work.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Much more — all of it bad for Libby, pretty much — here and here though there’s this upside: “On the other hand, though, Libby also clearly was not trying to out Plame for the purpose of endangering her, punishing Wilson or harming the CIA. He was trying to do something that was legal and appropriate: to discredit Wilson and knock down Wilson’s misleading story about why he was sent to Niger. He should not have done it the way he appears to have done it, but he surely was not doing what Wilson and the Left have been claiming.”