A Crossroads

Reid calls for Rove to resign:

The leader of the Senate Democrats today called for White House chief political strategist Karl Rove to resign, saying it’s time for President Bush to “come clean” with the American people about the administration’s role in the disclosure of a CIA operative’s name.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), speaking on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” said both Bush and Vice President Cheney owe an apology to the American public.

Reid said Bush should pledge not to pardon I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff who was indicted Friday on five charges relating to statements he made to the FBI and a grand jury investigating the leak of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Couple of quick things. First, I agree completely that Bush should apologize. At the very least, WH staffers were ‘involved’ in something Bush claimed they were not, whether that be because Bush himself thought it would blow over, or Rove and Libby lied to Bush. Either way, an apology is necessary, if for no other reason than the hundreds of hours of McClellan press conferences in which denials were issued repeatedly.

Two, I am of mixed minds on a Rove resignation. I don’t necessarily agree with the opposition party getting to decide who works for the President. I also don’t believe Rove in the White House is a good thing, and I don’t know if I want him there anymore. From what I can tell, the WH has been rudderless for a while now, so a shake-up might get rid of some of the rot and provide some new blood and focus. Don’t count on it though, as Bush sees no need for changes.

Third, Sen. Reid is out of line with the bit about pledging not to pardon. The pardon is an executive privilege, and it is really none of Reid’s business whether or not Bush exercises that privilege. If Reid wants to make sure that Presidents do not have the right to pardon their staffers, he knows what he can do- write an Amendment to the constitution forbidding it. I don’t think he really cares whether Libby is pardoned or not (should Libby be convicted), and he is just making political hay, but he shouldn’t really try to decide how the President uses his power.

At any rate, I really do feel an apology is necessary, if for no other reasons than purely political.






87 replies
  1. 1
    neil says:

    Following the Reid-Miers theory of deviousness, I deduce that Reid realizes that Bush’s credibility and thus his agenda are most seriously compromised if he keeps Rove on. There’s no chance of a ‘revival’ if Official A stays put (although I suspect he may not be able to anyway). So Reid pressures him publically to fire Rove, to ensure that Bush can’t do it without giving credibility to all of Reid’s charges.

    well, maybe.

  2. 2
    DougJ says:

    I more or less agree with John here. I actually don’t understand why Reid would want Rove to resign. Rove is now an albatross around Bush’s neck.

  3. 3
    SomeCallMeTim says:

    If you mean that Reid doesn’t care b/c all he really cares about is winning in politics, I agree. That’s his job. If you mean he doesn’t care because he shouldn’t care, I think you’re insane. It’s not like we didn’t go through this once before on Iran-Contra.

    The only thing that prevents a politically expedient pardon is shame or electoral fear. Bush has, we know, no shame, and no reason for personal electoral fear. If Reid doesn’t lay down the line as a marker, the media and the public won’t realize that maybe they should wonder about Bush pardoning wrong-doings in his own White House.

    It’s called accountability.

  4. 4
    Horshu says:

    Out of curiosity, what were your thoughts on the Mark Rich pardon?

  5. 5

    I’ll round things out by suggesting a Rove resignation would in all likelihood be nothing but a for-show-only gesture. Rove doesn’t have to be in the next office to go on doing the dirty deeds he does so well.

    However, from Bush’s perspective, bouncing Rove out of the White House would be caving to the opposition. His beloved base (maybe a tad less beloved just now) would see it as a display of weakness. Bush’s instinct and his base’s preference would be for him to find some way to single Rove out for some sort of special recognition as soon as possible.

    Yes, an apology to the public is in order. But as a recent news story revealed, Bush’s nose has been out of joint not because he feels his people did anything wrong in trying to trash Joe Wilson and then lying about it. What has Bush ticked is that they were so clumsy doing it.

    Any Bush apology would ring about as genuine McClellan’s many assurances and carry about as much weight as Bush’s recent statement saying how Brownie’s been doing a great job.

  6. 6
    Slide says:

    As someone that is an admitted partisan, I certainly hopes Bush keeps Rove around. Whether Rove eventually gets indicted or not, he will be a constant public reminder of the scandal to the public. At the very least he lied to the president’s press secretary regarding his involvement with the leak. If Bush wants to keep a proven liar as his closest adviser, that is just fine with me. The credibility of this administration has taken a huge hit and it will continue to do so. Add to Rove being seen with the president we’ll have the Scooter trial, the Delay trial, the Frist investigation. Slime, slime and more slime.

  7. 7
    Sojourner says:

    Rove is the perfect symbol of Bush’s returning integrity to the White House.

  8. 8
    ppGaz says:

    Obviously Reid is playing Bush like a violin. This call for Rove’s resignation is win-win for Reid. No matter what happens, Bush looks bad. This is the same Reid who only a short time ago basically said, sure, Miers is fine, send us more nominees like her.

    Ultimately, Reid is right here. Rove should resign over this case. He’s an ethical embarassment. He’s under a cloud, and still could be indicted. After Brownie and Miers, people close to Bush are starting to look pretty suspect just because Bush keeps them around.

  9. 9
    Sojourner says:

    Third, Sen. Reid is out of line with the bit about pledging not to pardon.

    Perhaps Bush staff would be more likely to tell the truth if they knew that a pardon would not be forthcoming.

  10. 10

    Of course, the Presidential pardon is Bush’s right. Reid can demand a pledge, and Bush is sure as hell not going to give it. But anyone with recollections of the Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush I administrations knows that the pardon is a promise to lower level conspirators to keep their mouths shut. Reid is just reminding everyone.

    I doubt that there’s any way that Bush is going to apologize or admit anything. He’s psychologically incapable of that. If anything, Bush will more firmly back Rove.

    In short, Harry Reid is fucking with George. Those of you Republicans who like to get snarky should appreciate his style.

  11. 11
    Slide says:

    You know I wasn’t a big fan of Senator Reid when he took over as minority leader but damn I underestimated him. He whooped Bush on Social Security. He got Dems to stick together to filibuster when necessary. He smacked Bush around with the Bolton nomination. And the piece de resistance, he snookered Bush into nominating Harriet Miers. Damn the man is good.

  12. 12
    KC says:

    I’ll add my voice to the others. I don’t see that Reid is really doing anything wrong. He’s just saying that Rove should resign and the president should pledge not to pardon the guilty parties. Nothing wrong with that to me, especially given the multiple recent instances of violent and often unfair indignation expressed by Congressional Republicans towards certain Democrats (say Daschle and Durbin).

  13. 13
    Otto Man says:

    I’m with you, Slide. I thought Reid was going to be a retread of Daschle, a Democrat from a Red State who was too scared of his own shadow to stand up to Bush. But, boy, has he proven me wrong. This guy’s a smart one.

    I think Neil has his comments right. Reid realizes that Bush will be better served by ditching Rove and apologizing for all of the administration’s denials, but he also realizes that anything the Democrats are for, Bush will instinctively be against. So demand that he fire Rove and apologize, when you know those demands will lead Bush to do neither.

    And the comment on the pardon is just pre-emptive strike to shame Bush into not using it. He should’ve reminded Bush about all the Iran-Contra pardons his father issued when he was heading out the door. 43 loves to do the opposite of 41, so maybe that would’ve kept him from doing it.

    As far as Marc Rich goes, I thought it was a bad final move by Clinton. But it’s one thing to pardon a private citizen, and quite another thing to pardon the criminals in your own administration who are doing your dirty work on your behalf. Agreed?

  14. 14
    Tree says:

    What does it say to Americans if the President of The United States of America pardons Traitors. What does it say to the entire world.

    If you read the Espionage Act you will see that Items D, E, F and F1 are fullfiled in the indictment of Libby for Perjury and Obstruction.

    Item G applies if Fitz can prove Conspiracy. The Espionage charge still is a viable charge that Fitz can indict Libby under and also Rove.

    Negligence or Mishandling of Classified Material is all that is needed. Since Libby worked on National Security matters he was either negligent or conspired to out a covert agent.

    No matter how you slice it Libby is a Traitor and I have no doubt in my mind that Rove, Cheney and others in the WHIG are too.

  15. 15
    Anderson says:

    Concur. I mean, why *couldn’t* Bush say “If the charges in the indictment are proved, I will not pardon such heinous conduct.”

    Isn’t that what a real law-n-order guy would say?

    It also gives any ballsy reporters a question: “Mr. President, WHY WON’T YOU declare that you will not pardon Mr. Libby if he’s convicted? Have you thought about it?” etc.

  16. 16

    It also gives any ballsy reporters a question: “Mr. President, WHY WON’T YOU declare that you will not pardon Mr. Libby if he’s convicted? Have you thought about it?” etc.

    Yea, like that question even has a remote possiblility of being asked…

  17. 17
    Stormy70 says:

    Face it, Rove did nothing wrong here or he would have been nailed. Why should he resign? Reid is just spinning, since the big Rovian Frog March that was the dream of the left did not materialize. The Wilsons look like idiots, as usual. I see Mr. and Mrs. Private are all over the airwaves tonight. Everyone else is watching Desparate Housewives and football.

    You guys are dreaming if you think this makes it past one week. A new Supreme Court nominee goes up tomorrow and the right is ready to fight. If Libby goes to trial, then Wilson will get hammered on cross, as will Russert, Cooper and Miller. It will be entertaining.

  18. 18
    ppGaz says:

    That’s what’s known as “comic relief.”

  19. 19
    halffasthero says:

    What does it say to Americans if the President of The United States of America pardons Traitors. What does it say to the entire world.

    One point of view.

    Face it, Rove did nothing wrong here or he would have been nailed. Why should he resign? Reid is just spinning, since the big Rovian Frog March that was the dream of the left did not materialize.

    And another.

    The only problem I have here is one of them is working from actual information and the other is working from faith. Not that I don’t understand why each has their own opinions but the gun sights are squarely against the republicans right now. Were it not for gerrymandering, the Dem’s would have hte house back in a heartbeat. As it looks right now, if things don’t turn around ethically, the Republicans will certainly lose the Senate in 2008.

  20. 20
    DougJ says:

    You guys are dreaming if you think this makes it past one week.

    Come on, Stormy. If a new person here said that, he would immediately be accused of being me.

  21. 21

    since the big Rovian Frog March that was the dream of the left did not materialize

    I wouldn’t count your chickenhawks before they have hatched. There is a good possibility that Rove is still going to be indicted.

    A new Supreme Court nominee goes up tomorrow and the right is ready to fight.

    I’d like to see Bush nominate a right-wing nut. It is a fight the Repubs will lose–mark my words.

  22. 22
    Stormy70 says:

    Rove was not indicted, but you guys think he should resign anyway? It would enrage the right if Rove was tossed aside. I find it interesting that everyone leaves out the fact that Fitzy specifically stated that he is not charging Libby with outing a covert agent. It seems to get glossed over by the posters here. Why no indictments on the supposed crime? The bulk of the work is done in this case, so I just don’t see it lasting much longer. People are already sick of Plamed Out. You pimped it all summer and now it results in no indictment for the crime of outing Plame. She was not covert. She also outed herself the minute she let hubby attack the administrations with lies in the NYTs. Time to clean out the CIA. Goss has done some good work in that direction.

  23. 23

    LOL, yes Plame outed herself! Convict Her! You really are priceless Stormy. You always manage to make me chuckle.

  24. 24
    DougJ says:

    Stormy, Rove should resign because he hurts Bush politically. He is seen as a symbol of this administration’s tendency to put politics above policy.

    We’ve got three more years of these guys. And we’re in a war. No one benefits from an ineffectual president at this time. And that’s what Bush will be if he keeps Rove & Co. around.

  25. 25
    Andrei says:

    You guys are dreaming if you think this makes it past one week.

    I once again offer you to put your money where your mouth is. $100 wager?

  26. 26
    Andrei says:

    It seems to get glossed over by the posters here. Why no indictments on the supposed crime?

    Did you bother listening to Fitz’s press conference? Go watch it on crooksandliars.com then get back to us.

  27. 27
    Otto Man says:

    Stormy, are you at all familiar with Fitzgerald’s track record? When he went after Gov. Ryan in Illinois, his first round of indictments only referred to Ryan obliquely in terms akin to the “Official A” in Friday’s indictments. Fitzgerald worked patiently, got convictions on the first round, and eventually indicted — and convicted — the “Official A” of his first round. I don’t think a Rove indictment is a lock by any means, but given Fitzgerald’s past history, I think it’s certainly in the cards.

    And watching the press conference, it was clear that Fitzgerald felt that Libby’s lies and obstructions had impeded his real investigation. So he decided to deviate from the original plan and deal with the barrier to his progress. Once he nails Libby to the wall, he can move on.

  28. 28
    ppGaz says:

    Fitzy specifically stated that he is not charging Libby with outing a covert agent. It seems to get glossed over by the posters here.

    Maybe you should go back to the tape. What he said was that he was not charging that offense on Friday. He made no statement limiting his scope in the future. Those limits are in your imagination.

    As the bottle of scotch fills with air, your imagination gets more active ….

  29. 29
    Stormy70 says:

    Hah! I’m not drinking tonight. I work a long week tomorrow.

    Fitzy was very careful in saying he was not charging Libby with outing Plame. He needs longer than two years to establish if a crime has been committed? Please.

  30. 30
    DougJ says:

    Stormy, so what you’re saying is that the Bush standard is everyone keeps their job unless they are indicted? People are already calling that the “Bush standard”. Admittedly, it’s Dems who are doing it — but I think it will catch on, maybe not to the extent that “that depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is” did, but believe me you’ll hear it as long as Rove is around.

    You’re actually falling for Reid’s trick. If he weren’t saying this, a lot of Republicans would be saying it, and maybe Bush would do the smart thing and fire Rove.

  31. 31
    Anderson says:

    Yea, like that question even has a remote possiblility of being asked…

    Well, I did invent the possibly empty set of “ballsy reporters” (no offense to the ladies; what is the comparable form of “ovaries”?).

    If Fitzgerald is indeed angling for Cheney, we can certainly expect him to be moving Very Carefully.

  32. 32
    Tree says:

    Read item F page three {3} of the indictment.

    Joseph Wilson was married to Valerie Plame Wilson (“Valerie Wilson”). At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community.

    Since the CIA requested the investigation and Fitz clearly states in the indictment her status was classified, and the outing of her clearly was of grave concern endangering our National Security indicates he indeed has enough to charge Espionage.

    The fact that he did not at this time only means he’s going after bigger fish (Cheney} and possibly Rove as he also passed on classified information to people not authorised to receive it.

    Keep drinking the Kool Aide.

  33. 33
    Stormy70 says:

    If Rove did not do anything wrong, then why fire him? For fighting political fights? Come on, be serious. Also, Libby has been indicted, not tried. Let’s see what the trial holds, shall we? Or is this you guys trying to find the silver lining in the great takedown of the administration? Oh, wait…that did not happen on Friday.

  34. 34
    DougJ says:

    So Stormy, you think that anything that is illegal is not wrong? That’s pretty damn permissive. I hope you don’t bring your kids up that way.

  35. 35
    DougJ says:

    Meant so say “anything that is *not* illegal is not wrong.”

  36. 36
    Otto Man says:

    Fitzy was very careful in saying he was not charging Libby with outing Plame. He needs longer than two years to establish if a crime has been committed? Please.

    He knows a crime was committed, but as he said repeatedly, under the terms of the 1982 act, it’s difficult to prove because you have to know the mindstate of the people committing the deed. Which is difficult when the main person in question lies to you at every turn. Got it?

    This is the way the man works. If he was cautious and methodical in taking down the governor of Illinois, how do you think he’d proceed against the White House?

    I know it’s hard to comprehend when the frame of reference is Ken Starr, a man who leaked like a sieve and clearly was out to embarrass his targets at any cost. But this is how a professional prosecutor goes about it.

    If Rove did not do anything wrong, then why fire him?

    Maybe because Bush said that he’d fire anyone who was involved in the leak and before that he said that his administration would have an ethical standard determined by what was right, not just what was legal. Of course now the Bush standard is: as long as they’re not in cuffs, it’s all good.

    Or is this you guys trying to find the silver lining in the great takedown of the administration?

    Yeah. We’re the ones engaged in wishful thinking. Keep whistling past the graveyard.

  37. 37
    Harley says:

    As you say, this is about the political. And calling upon the Prez to pledge not to pardon Libby is…good politics, not to mention mindful of the family history re scandal and pardon.

  38. 38
    DougJ says:

    Stormy: Bush said he would fire anyone who was involved in the leak. Rove was involved. He should be fired. Better yet, he should save the president the troubling of doing so by resigning.

  39. 39
    Stormy70 says:

    What did Rove do that was wrong? Proof please. Engage in politics against that liar, Joe Wilson? Wilson is a liar and Valerie shoould not have offered up her husband to go on a ridiculous fact-finding mission, then allow him to leak it all over the Times. I like how he at least knew not to lie to the Senate. He could have taught Libby that trick.

  40. 40
    Otto Man says:

    Wilson was a liar? So Iraq really did reconstitute its nuclear program?

  41. 41
    Stormy70 says:

    Libby has to be convicted before Bush could pardon him. I’m ready for this trial, and the witnesses called by the defense.

    Oops, Grey’s Anatomy is on, real life beckons. Good night, see you next weekend.

  42. 42
    Sojourner says:

    Rove was not indicted, but you guys think he should resign anyway?

    Bush promised that anyone who was involved in inappropriately spreading classified information would be dealt with. It’s been established that Rove shared information about Valerie Plame with reporters.

    It would be nice if Bush kept his word for once. I am so profoundly tired of the lies. Why can’t he ever tell the truth?

  43. 43
    whatsleft says:

    No silly, didn’t you get the Talking Points? Wilson was a liar because he (never) said that the Vice-President sent him to Niger! Right, Stormy?

    I heard again this morning from Sen. L. Graham from S. Carolina, and he would NEVER give out false, partisan info.

  44. 44
    Doug says:

    Libby has to be convicted before Bush could pardon him.

    Not true. Ford pardoned Nixon without Nixon having been indicted.

  45. 45
    Caroline says:

    Funny thing here-I’m sure Reid said this so that Bush won’t fire him. Keeping Rove is lessening Bush and the GOP’s ability to defend themselves in the future-every objectionable statement can now be met with the phrase Karl Rove Slime. While Rove wasn’t indicted Friday, Fitzgerald’s statements about Official A sure didn’t make him out to be anything but slime. He is damaged goods and Republicans running for office don’t want to be seen with either him or Bush i.e. Kilgore in VA.

    As far as the Supreme Court nominee goes, well we shall see. He’s kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. If he nominates a moderate, his base will have another temper tantrum. If he nominates someone from the far right then he will look like an absolute tool of the far right after he did what they wanted w/r/t Miers.

    How many dittiots are still spouting that “plame and wilson” will be indicted crap? LOL! I heard that last week. They all said that the only people who will be indicted are Wilson and Plame. Looks like Wilson and Plame have no fears of courts or the legal systems since apparently they are considering suing the Bush Administration.

  46. 46
    EL says:

    Rove was not indicted, but you guys think he should resign anyway?

    Yes, because he mishandled classified data. And if he didn’t know it was classified, his actions are still sleazy. Washington players often resign when sleazy behaviour is made public – affairs, questionable financial or ethical dealings that aren’t illegal.

  47. 47
    Mac Buckets says:

    As far as Marc Rich goes, I thought it was a bad final move by Clinton. But it’s one thing to pardon a private citizen, and quite another thing to pardon the criminals in your own administration who are doing your dirty work on your behalf. Agreed?

    Wow. Just Wow. Let’s do a refresher — then we’ll let you answer again. Marc Rich is a fraud, a tax cheat, and a traitor, who fled to Europe rather than face trials for his crimes. He stole money by fraudulently overcharging for oil, he sheltered the money so he wouldn’t have to pay tax, and traded with Iran and, it seems, paid kickbacks to Iraq during embargoes. So he was writing checks to Ayatollah Khomeini while Iran held our hostages, and to Saddam while palaces were being built with the oil-for-food money. But his ex-wife and her friend were both big Clinton donors/fundraisers, and Bill’s ex-counsel, Jack Quinn, conned Clinton into believing that Rich was a mere victim of Rudy Guiliani’s partisan ire. Clinton couldn’t be bothered to check out the other side of the story (busy packing up the furniture on his last day, no doubt), so a traitor was pardoned.

    Libby, who is almost certainly a greaseball, a-hole lawyer (and who represented Marc Rich for quite a while, arguing he could not be charged), has been indicted, but not convicted, with lying about where he learned Val Plame was CIA. So you only blew it on “criminal,” “doing [Bush’s] dirty work,” and “on [Bush’s] behalf.” Besides that, you were perfectly fair.

    Can there be any reason besides simple partisanship that you are pretending that Libby’s pardon would be less justifiable than Clinton’s pardon of Rich? Because nothing is less justifiable, and reeks more of quid pro quo, than Clinton’s pardon of Rich.

  48. 48
    DougJ says:

    Obviously, Marc Rich shouldn’t have been pardoned. Clinton was rightly criticized for that. And Libby shouldn’t be pardoned either. I think it’s silly to get involved with which greaseball is less deserving of pardons than the other.

  49. 49
    Otto Man says:

    Can there be any reason besides simple partisanship that you are pretending that Libby’s pardon would be less justifiable than Clinton’s pardon of Rich? Because nothing is less justifiable, and reeks more of quid pro quo, than Clinton’s pardon of Rich.

    Are you fucking kidding me? Rich was slime, I’ll agree to that. But the ramifications of his actions to this country were nowhere near as bad as Libby’s, and the connections between his actions and Clinton were much more tenuous than Bush’s push for war in Iraq and Libby’s rearguard defense.

    Is there any reason besides simple partisanship that you think Rich is more of a scumbag than Libby?

    And if you want the textbook case of quid pro quo, look at Bush Sr’s pardons to the Iran-Contra convicts. That effectively sealed off the investigation into his involvement.

  50. 50
    Jon H says:

    John writes:” I don’t necessarily agree with the opposition party getting to decide who works for the President.”

    Seems to me it’s not so much the opposition party deciding, but rather the principles of good ethics. (Now, not only are the facts biased against Bush, ethics are too!)

    If it’s the right thing to do, it’s right regardless of whether Reid is the one suggesting it, or not.

    And Reid, of course, is free to openly suggest things which the Republicans cannot do without risking retribution.

    “Third, Sen. Reid is out of line with the bit about pledging not to pardon. The pardon is an executive privilege, and it is really none of Reid’s business whether or not Bush exercises that privilege. ”

    A person with a privilege also has the responsibility for exercising that privilege responsibly. And they have the option of not doing so.

    As a citizen of the United States, it is very much Reid’s business whether Bush *should* exercise that privilege. It is everyone’s business.

    Bush, of course, has the final say. But everyone has the right to suggest a course of action Bush should take on the issue.

    You’d have a point if Reid were suggesting legislation to punish or censure Bush should he pardon Libby. But he isn’t attempting coercion. He’s merely pointing out the bloody obvious, which last I checked, was Constitutionally protected speech.

  51. 51

    i thought pardoning rich was a very bad idea, but i don’t think it’s comparable to a possible libby pardon.

    in my darker moments i think that a libby pardon is in fact exactly what’s intended. libby is the fall guy, and his loyalty (obstruction of justice, designed to save several other people, including rove and cheney, from prosecution) will be rewarded.

    i am hoping against hope that fitzgerald’s painstaking patience will bring the whole crooked house of cards down, but i’m not celebrating fitzmas at this point.

  52. 52
    Jon H says:

    Stormy writes: “Face it, Rove did nothing wrong here or he would have been nailed. Why should he resign?”

    He should be fired outright, for violating the terms of the NDA he signed as part of his employment.

    Same with Libby.

    The violation of their NDA’s has been established well enough already; a criminal indictment isn’t required to justify firing someone who serves at the pleasure of the President. It’s not like they’re in a union.

    Why should an indictment be required? Their jobs aren’t theirs by inalienable right.

  53. 53
    Gary Farber says:

    “Third, Sen. Reid is out of line with the bit about pledging not to pardon. The pardon is an executive privilege, and it is really none of Reid’s business whether or not Bush exercises that privilege. If Reid wants to make sure that Presidents do not have the right to pardon their staffers, he knows what he can do- write an Amendment to the constitution forbidding it. I don’t think he really cares whether Libby is pardoned or not (should Libby be convicted), and he is just making political hay, but he shouldn’t really try to decide how the President uses his power.”

    John, we both agree that aside from a Constitutional Amendment, Reid has no power of compulsion on this, right? Okay. So we agree that all he’s doing is voicing his opinion, right? Is that okay?

    If so, well, why would you say that voicing his opinion is “out of line”? And isn’t it his business as Minority Leader to comment on matters affecting the U.S. government? I mean, not that it’s mandatory he make such a statement, but it’s hardly out of line for a politician to comment on another. This isn’t the freaking Soviet Union, and in our system, we all have a right to say George Bush should jump out a window, if we want. (Although that would lack dignity, though not to the point of Cheney’s “Go f-ck yourself” remark to Leahy.)

    So I’m hoping that if you think about this a second, you might agree that your original statement might not have been fully on target.

    “…but he shouldn’t really try to decide how the President uses his power.”

    Well, obviously he’s not, because he can’t. And you know that. All he did was say that President Bush should do X. That’s what Senators do. Every day, as a rule. Right?

  54. 54
    Mac Buckets says:

    But the ramifications of his actions to this country were nowhere near as bad as Libby’s,

    Again, you should be reminded that Libby wouldn’t be pardoned for outing Plame, because he has not been charged with outing Plame. So his “actions” that would be pardoned are only saying he learned of Plame from the media rather than from Cheney — some political CYA. Rich wrote checks to Saddam and the Ayatollah — that’s treason in almost everybody’s book. I think we all know which action is worse.

  55. 55
    Otto Man says:

    I think we all know which action is worse.

    Actually, you’re the only one here arguing that. The rest of us seem to think a president pardoning his hatchetman is worse.

  56. 56
    Kimmitt says:

    I agree with Cole — since Senator Reid is not an American citizen, he really has no business expressing his opinion on the propriety of any Executive action.

  57. 57
    Gary Farber says:

    “He needs longer than two years to establish if a crime has been committed? Please.”

    I wrote a response to this, but I’ve rewritten it into a post.

  58. 58
    Mac Buckets says:

    and his loyalty (obstruction of justice, designed to save several other people, including rove and cheney, from prosecution) will be rewarded.

    Possibly (although I’m not sure his testimony — if it is proved to be false — was designed to save Rove and Cheney). The last two Administrations have used pardons to derail investigations into their own misdeeds. Bush, Sr., pardoned the Iran-Contra Six, and Clinton pardoned a number of people including Whitewater stonewaller Susan McDougal and his former CIA Director John Deutsch. It seems to be part of American politics these days.

  59. 59
    Mac Buckets says:

    Actually, you’re the only one here arguing that. The rest of us seem to think a president pardoning his hatchetman is worse.

    Of course you do, because he works for Chimpy McBusHitlerburton (Hatchetman? You guys get funnier every post!). I didn’t say that I thought you’d be honest, just that you know which one is worse.

  60. 60
    RSA says:

    Third, Sen. Reid is out of line with the bit about pledging not to pardon. The pardon is an executive privilege, and it is really none of Reid’s business whether or not Bush exercises that privilege.

    If you buy this, then Bush should similarly stop saying that his nominations should get an up or down vote in the Senate. It’s the prerogative of Senators, based on the the set of rules they’ve established, that nominees can get held up in committee. It’s none of Bush’s business.

  61. 61
    Otto Man says:

    You know, every time you bust out your little Chimpy McBusHitlerburton line, it gets funnier and funnier. The first hundred times it was just an amusing strawman. The next hundred a chuckle about all the good times we’ve shared. And now, as we close in on the 1000 milestone, it’s just comedy gold!

    I don’t give a shit who he works for. You out a CIA agent because a family member made you mad, it’s simple — you’re scum and you should be nailed to the wall.

    I’m really sorry you can’t see that, but the giant erection you still have for the evil crimes of Bill Clinton must be blocking your view.

  62. 62
    val says:

    Why is Reid “out of line” for suggesting Bush refuse to pardon the participants. I remember Bush Sr. coming under a lot of criticism for pardoning officials involved in the Iran-Contra scandal and Bill Clinton took some heat for pardoning 140 people just before he left office. It may be pointless to criticize it, but it’s not out of line.

  63. 63
    Andrew J. Lazarus says:

    I should write a macro to repeat the explanation of what was behind the Marc Rich pardon—and it’s a story many of Clinton’s Republican critics know well, and know he can’t defend himself.

    Clinton owed Ehud Barak and Israeli intelligence big time for their cooperation and restraint in dealing with Yasser Arafat. Israeli intelligence was interested in a pardon for the spy Jonatahn Pollard, but Clinton didn’t dare touch that (and he was correct). Marc Rich also has an affiliation with Israeli intelligence (not refuted by his alliance with Iran, c.f. Michael Ledeen), and although he is loathesome, not so much so as Pollard. So he was pardoned as a favor to the Israelis as a make-good. Obviously I lack first-hand knowledge, but this was the general belief in Israel at the time, and it sounds plausible to me. If Rich’s ex-wife fellated the Clenis, that was just an extra.

  64. 64
    M. Scott Eiland says:

    Gotta give Reid mad props–at least he didn’t feel the need to manufacture nonexistent legal documents to justify his views about Rove–unlike his conduct regarding Justice Clarence Thomas.

    Reid’s an irrelevant clown–best to ignore him and move on.

  65. 65
    Jon H says:

    “Reid’s an irrelevant clown”

    Oh really? I bet *his* approval rating among constituents is better than 39%.

  66. 66
    Mac Buckets says:

    You out a CIA agent because a family member made you mad, it’s simple—you’re scum and you should be nailed to the wall.

    For the reading-impaired, there can’t be a pardon on the outing charge, because there’s no outing charge! I’d accuse you of strawmanning, but I just think you don’t get it. Once again, any pardon for Libby would be for lying about whether he heard from the media or from Cheney that Plame worked for CIA. That’s it — there’s no charge under any espionage statute at this point, so your comparison to the greatest tax-cheat in history and a traitor, to boot, is just silly.

    I’m really sorry you can’t see that, but the giant erection you still have for the evil crimes of Bill Clinton must be blocking your view.

    Tell me more about strawmen (I criticized Bush 41’s pardons, too — someone else brought up Rich). Although you are correct about the size of… well, you know.

  67. 67
    Brian says:

    Apologize? Stop it. How many times over the years have we heard that Bush should apologize for something or other. I don’t blame him one bit for not bothering.

    Also, I read the indictment. I didn’t see anything about outing any CIA agent. This story has become a joke.

  68. 68
    Andrei says:

    Once again, any pardon for Libby would be for lying about whether he heard from the media or from Cheney that Plame worked for CIA.

    If you want to be accurate and intellecutally honest, at least admit the pardon would be for committing perjury and obstructing justice, full stop. It’s not illegal to lie you know.

  69. 69
    Slide says:

    Bush shouldn’t apologize.

    Bush should keep Rove right next to him at every press conference.

    Bush should pardon Libby.

    Bush should appear drunk in public.

    As a Dem, I’m in favor of all of the above.

  70. 70
    p.lukasiak says:

    For the reading-impaired, there can’t be a pardon on the outing charge, because there’s no outing charge!

    for the historically impaired, one need only point to the blanket pardons awarded to Nixon, and to the Iran-Contra conspirators, that were not tied to any particular charge.

    I mean, this MacBuckets joker needs to be severely beaten about the face and neck with the Clue Stick, given he doesn’t even know that Nixon was never indicted before he was pardoned by Ford.

  71. 71
    John Cole says:

    There is a difference between Harry Reid stating he does not think the President should pardon Libby and Reid trying to maneuver Bush into a pledge or someo binding oath that he will not pardon Libby. The former is acceptable, the latter is not.

  72. 72
    Otto Man says:

    For the reading-impaired, there can’t be a pardon on the outing charge, because there’s no outing charge!

    Then how did Ford pardon Nixon? He hadn’t been indicted yet either.

    One of us is reading-impaired alright. I know conservatives are allergic to history, but try picking up a book every now and then.

  73. 73
    Otto Man says:

    Ah, I should’ve read further. P.Lukasiak beat me to the clue-stick punch.

  74. 74
    Jon H says:

    “There is a difference between Harry Reid stating he does not think the President should pardon Libby and Reid trying to maneuver Bush into a pledge or someo binding oath that he will not pardon Libby. The former is acceptable, the latter is not.”

    What’s he gonna “maneuver” Bush with, a cattle prod?

  75. 75
    Phillip J. Birmingham says:

    I don’t think he really cares whether Libby is pardoned or not (should Libby be convicted), and he is just making political hay

    I think Sojourner touched on this, a bit, but I think it’s a little more than political hay — more like a strategic move. If you suspect, as Reid surely does, that Libby is protecting someone higher up, cutting off the lifeline of a pardon will make him more likely to tell what he knows.

    I agree that the President can do what he wants, and I am certain he won’t bite, but I see nothing wrong with what Reid said.

  76. 76
    Cassidy says:

    “What’s he gonna “maneuver” Bush with, a cattle prod?”

    I’d be willing to trade a Rove perp-walk for that. As long as it was captured on video of course.

  77. 77

    Slide, When Rove appears with Bush at every public appearance, they should be handcuffed together in a show of solidarity.

    And maybe Rove’s flabby-assed traitorous self should be named the official bearer of the White House crack pipe too.

    And I think the President should publicly defend his right to expose covert agents in order to sell phony wars to the American Public.

    If only we could work in Jeff Gannon and golden showers into the tableaux.

  78. 78
    Cyrus says:

    Again, you should be reminded that Libby wouldn’t be pardoned for outing Plame, because he has not been charged with outing Plame. So his “actions” that would be pardoned are only saying he learned of Plame from the media rather than from Cheney—some political CYA.

    When people talk about cognitive dissonance, this is what they’re referring to. How can someone accept that Libby lied under oath and obstructed justice, and not wonder why he did it? Do they think he lied about where he learned Plame’s name to cover up the fact that he heard it from… Arnold Schwarzenegger, maybe? I mean, he’s played a spy in a lot of movies… Libby’s are the only charges we’ve seen so far and they could be the only ones we ever see, but given what those charges are, it’s ridiculous to assume that they were the only crimes committed or ethical boundaries crossed. All these people who keep repeating the mantra “only Libby was indicted, and not for outing Plame” aren’t making themselves look too smart.

  79. 79
    ppGaz says:

    The former is acceptable, the latter is not.

    It’s politics, and theater. Everything is acceptable in that context, no? Reid is just laying down some rhetorical markers for the coming blah blizzard (as the case unfolds). He’s pretty much established himself as the Jedi master at this game at least for the time being. I say, watch, and learn.

    This (Plame) case is all about controlling the news noise cycle; that’s what it was about back in the days when Novak and Miller were still schmoozing … I mean, interviewing … their sources, and it’s still what it is about now. It’s what the chorus of “no underlying crime” bullshit is all about. It’s what the “techicality” meme was about pre-indictment. Do we think it is a coincidence that Kay BigHair Hutchison and twenty GOP-whore pundits and Orrin Hatch and Bill Safire all use exactly the same verbiage on cable tv during the last week?

    Reid is going to take the Republicans to school on framing and controlling conversations. He knows that weasel talk and mealy-mouthed prevarication are the core of his opposition’s public relations machine. And he knows just how to trip them up and snag them on their own hooks.

  80. 80
    Gary Farber says:

    “There is a difference between Harry Reid stating he does not think the President should pardon Libby and Reid trying to maneuver Bush into a pledge or someo binding oath that he will not pardon Libby. The former is acceptable, the latter is not.”

    Well, John, that’s a fine argument by assertion, but if you have a case, I know you can do better. I could respond similarly: Is so! But since that wouldn’t convince me, any more than saying “is not!” to me convinces you. If you do want to convince, you’ll have to explain why it’s “unacceptable” for a Senator to attempt to use rhetoric or shame to affect a political outcome. I do agree that it’s almost as if he’s playing politics. Heaven forbid either the White House or Senate act so “unacceptably.”

    Is it your stance that the White House should not attempt to “maneuver” Senators, and that Senators should not attempt to “maneuver” the President? How does this work?

  81. 81
    Gary Farber says:

    Incidentally, while people are fussing about Marc Rich and his pardon, one might recall who Marc Rich’s lawyer was: a guy named I. Lewis Libby. Pretty obscure fellow. You probably haven’t heard of him.

  82. 82
    Gary Farber says:

    “It’s politics, and theater. Everything is acceptable in that context, no?”

    Certainly not. There are plenty of things that actually are out of bounds. Reid calling for the assassination of the President, or anyone else. Reid announcing he has proof that former President GHW Bush did have an affair in office. Stuff like that. Mere normal politics, however, is, of course, mere normal politics. “I call upon the President to blahblahblah” where “blahblahblah” is a perfectly legal thing to do — such as “promise not to [WHATEVER]” is perfectly normal and legitimate. Of course. (If John disagrees, I trust his intelligence enough that he’ll supply reasoning, not just his previous “is not!”)

  83. 83
    ppGaz says:

    Certainly not. There are plenty of things that actually are out of bounds. Reid calling for the assassination of the President, or anyone else.

    Uh, let the record show that when I sa it, “everything” does not include “assassination of the president.” I’d like the record to show that I mean that here, and in all future commucations from me, both personal and private.

    cc: United States Dept of Homeland Security, Secret Service

  84. 84
    ppGaz says:

    Correction, “public and private.”

  85. 85
    Mac Buckets says:

    I mean, this MacBuckets joker needs to be severely beaten about the face and neck with the Clue Stick, given he doesn’t even know that Nixon was never indicted before he was pardoned by Ford.

    What a bunch of dishonest simpletons you lot are. Since pardons need not be linked to any particular indictment, you cretins feel free to claim that hypothetically pardoning Libby would be pardoning a criminal spy-outer who destroyed a good chunk of the CIA, even though he’s not charged with that crime. Why don’t you geniuses also pretend that the pardon is for killing Vince Foster, then, or for abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib, or for molesting children in his office, or for colluding on 9/11? After all, he’s been charged with those things just as much as he’s been charged with outing Plame! Think of the rhetorical hay you could make out of those non-existant charges! Really, expecting honesty out of you guys is like expecting a pig to recite Shakespeare.

    Take your clue-stick and place it straight up yours, if there’s any room next to your head.

  86. 86
    goonie bird says:

    Why dont Harry Reid just stick his feet in his mouth a wiggle his toes for the next eight years and stop boing such a jerk

  87. 87
    Jon H says:

    “Why dont Harry Reid just stick his feet in his mouth a wiggle his toes for the next eight years and stop boing such a jerk”

    That’s what Bush has been doing since 2000, and it’s clear his toes are the only activity going on between his ears.

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