- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 30, 2005

No conspiracy

“On March 21, 1973, John Dean told President Nixon that there was a cancer on his presidency,” New York Times columnist David Brooks writes.

“There was, Dean said, a metastasizing criminal conspiracy spreading through the White House.

“Thirty-two years later, Patrick Fitzgerald has just completed a 22-month investigation of the Bush presidency. One thing is clear: There is no cancer on this presidency. Fitzgerald, who seems to be a model prosecutor, enjoyed what he called full cooperation from all federal agencies. He found enough evidence to indict one man,[I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr.], on serious charges,” Mr. Brooks said.

“But he did not find evidence to prove that there was a broad conspiracy to out a covert agent for political gain. He did not find evidence of wide-ranging criminal behavior. He did not even indict the media’s ordained villain, Karl Rove. And as the former prosecutors Robert Ray and Richard Ben-Veniste said on ‘The News Hour with Jim Lehrer,’ he gave little indication he was going to do that in the future.

“Fitzgerald went as far as the evidence led him. In so doing, he momentarily punctured the wave of hysteria that had been building around the case. Over the past few weeks, oceans of ink and an infinity of airtime have been devoted to theorizing about Rove’s conspiratorial genius and general culpability — almost all of it hokum. Leading Democratic politicians filled the air with grand conspiracy theories that would be at home in the John Birch Society.”

Clinton on lies

Former President Bill Clinton criticized journalists and authors at a weekend book fair for allowing politicians to get away with lies.

Mr. Clinton drew roaring applause during his speech from the several hundred people gathered Saturday in the Texas House chamber in Austin to kick off the 10th annual Texas Book Festival, an event started by first lady Laura Bush when her husband was governor.

The former president explained that public officials often get away with lying because of a desire on the part of journalists to get comment from both sides of a story, the Associated Press reported.

He also said Democrats can’t be afraid to talk about hot-button issues, including abortion, and can’t expect not to be treated roughly if they want to regain power in Washington.

“You can’t say, ‘Please don’t be mean to me. Please let me win sometimes.’ Give me a break here,” Mr. Clinton said. “If you don’t want to fight for the future, and you can’t figure out how to beat these people, then find something else to do.”

The event, which raises money for public libraries, is expected to draw as many as 30,000 people and authors including novelist Salman Rushdie, historian David McCullough and children’s author Lemony Snicket.

Mr. Clinton attributed Republicans’ control of Congress to Democratic candidates’ inability or unwillingness to “stand up and be heard.” For example, he said, Democrats too often are unwilling to talk about abortion because they’re afraid of pro-life groups.

“So how come we can’t talk about it?” he asked. “Because we basically let political ads turn every player in this drama into a two-dimensional cartoon instead of a three-dimensional person.”

Proper lessons

“The withdrawal of Harriet Miers‘ nomination to the Supreme Court was going to happen sooner or later, so better that it happened [Thursday], which is to say quickly and before any Senate hearings. The issue now is whether President Bush draws the proper lessons from this unhappy episode as he contemplates his next nominee,” the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.

“To wit, in today’s polarized judicial politics, it is unwise to nominate anyone but a seasoned and top-flight constitutionalist to run the Senate confirmation gantlet. Ms. Miers has many virtues, but it was simply unfair to send her — a non-combatant in the judicial wars — to the equivalent of the Russian front. All the more so when the White House had obviously done little preparation or vetting,” the newspaper said.

“The result is that she found herself caught in a political crossfire, between conservatives suspicious of another stealth nominee (think David Souter) and liberals waiting to shoot her once she was wounded. Yes, some on the right pounced on Ms. Miers as if Mr. Bush had never nominated a single conservative judge as President. And a few were especially eager to get their 10 seconds of fame in the mainstream media (they’ll now return to oblivion). But Ms. Miers failed in the end because she couldn’t convince enough people that she really was the judicial conservative that Mr. Bush claimed.

“The tipping point probably was [last] week’s report of a 1993 speech in which Ms. Miers spoke approvingly of ‘self-determination’ in resolving legal disputes about abortion. The view expressed in that speech seemed at odds with the White House’s initial presentation of Ms. Miers as a pro-life evangelical Christian who — hint, hint — could be counted on to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.”

New York debate

The Democrat aiming to unseat New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg criticized the Republican incumbent for his ties to President Bush during a debate yesterday.

The biggest argument erupted when Mr. Bloomberg and Fernando Ferrer were discussing crime, and the mayor said there are too many guns on the streets and that New York needs help from the federal government on gun control, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Bloomberg said Mr. Ferrer did nothing on the issue when he was Bronx borough president. He added that Mr. Ferrer is cozy with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association when he was governor of Vermont.

Mr. Ferrer fired back, saying Mr. Bloomberg, a Republican, “supported the party and the president whose policies have hurt his city.”

“Not on this policy, I didn’t,” responded Mr. Bloomberg, who also backs homosexual “marriage” and unrestricted access to abortion.

At another point, Mr. Ferrer turned to Mr. Bloomberg and said: “I’m proud of the work that I did with Bill Clinton and the support that I got from him. Are you proud of George Bush?”

“George Bush is the president of the United States. I agree with him on some things; I disagree with him on others,” Mr. Bloomberg said. He quoted former Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, who said there was no Republican or Democratic way to pick up the garbage.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide