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Patrick Fitzgerald's Diary: Watching Them Flop, Squirm, Flip

By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers


Dear Diary:

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 conspirator.

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 Administration.

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; BushSr. 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 offerred 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 relatiation 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. #

Bernard Weiner, Ph.D., has taught government & international relations at
various universities, worked as a writer/editor for the San Francisco Chronicle,
and current is co-editor of The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org).

Originally published by The Crisis Papers and Democratic Underground
11/26/05.

Copyright 2005 by Bernard Weiner.

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