Thursday, July 05, 2007

Liar in Chief

Jeez, ALa doesn't want profanity on this site and without it I really can't tell you how I feel about this man. The first time I was old enough to vote in a presidential election, I voted for Ronald Reagan in 1984. Then GHW Bush. I felt pretty good in 1992, having gone two for two. I was living in San Diego at the time. Pete Wilson had just left the Senate early, having won the California governorship. Diane Feinstein was running to serve his last two years. Barbara Boxer was running for a full term as senator. So, you can imagine, I was pretty well crushed when the election results came in and it was Clinton, Feinstein and Boxer.

Now this, via Hot Air.
Former President Bill Clinton criticized President Bush on Tuesday for commuting the prison sentence of I. Lewis Libby Jr. and tried to draw a distinction from his own controversial pardons.

In Iowa to promote the presidential candidacy of his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Mr. Clinton was asked by a radio host, David Yepsen, “You had some controversial pardons during your presidency; what’s your reaction to what President Bush did?”

“Yeah, but I think the facts were different,” Mr. Clinton said. “I think there are guidelines for what happens when somebody is convicted. You’ve got to understand, this is consistent with their philosophy; they believe that they should be able to do what they want to do, and that the law is a minor obstacle.”

“It’s wrong to out that C.I.A. agent and wrong to try to cover it up,” Mr. Clinton added. “And no one was ever fired from the White House for doing it.”
Well, let's see, Mr. President:
  1. She wasn't covert, so her identity wasn't classified, so it wasn't possible to "out" her.
  2. There was no cover up. The investigator, Fitzgerald, knew well before he questioned Scooter Libby that Richard Armitage was the one who gave her specifics to the press. Scooter Libby may have lied, or he may simply have forgotten one meeting years earlier, but he wasn't covering up a crime in the White House because that crime had never occurred. See #1.
  3. One could argue that Scooter Libby's "resignation" was a firing. We all know how resignations in Washington work. But why should he have been fired for "doing it" when there was no "it" to do? And (gratuitous jab here) just how many times did you "do it" in the Oval Office anyway?
How many lawbreakers did you pardon when you were in the White House, Mr. President? At least President Bush commuted Libby's sentence out of moral conviction, not for personal gain, as you did. How much did you get from Marc Rich, anyway? How much of a difference to her Senatorial campaign did your pardon of those 4 men in New York, whose district voted overwhelming for Hillary, make?
The U.S. attorney's probe of the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich has expanded to the four presidential pardons of four Jewish men convicted of stealing $40 million from taxpayers for a fake school.

Mary Jo White, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, is investigating a possible link between the last-minute pardon by former President Bill Clinton of four New Yorkers and votes for Hillary Clinton's Senate election last November.

Kalmen Stern, David Goldstein, Benjamin Berger and Jacob Elbaum were serving prison sentences of up to 6.5 years for bilking $40 million worth of student Pell grants and loans from government sources for a phony school in the Hasidic community of New Square, N.Y.

Sen. Clinton said that although she attended a White House meeting in which the pardon issue was raised, "I never made any view known."

Last month, she refused to talk about the controversial pardons of the four New York Hasidic Jews by her husband. New Square voted 1359-10 for the first lady – although other nearby Hasidic enclaves voted 3480-152 for Clinton's GOP opponent, former Rep. Rick Lazio. (source)
This is really sad:
Legal analysts said investigators usually cast a wide net in such inquiries, checking for evidence of a crime that may not be immediately apparent, and it is not clear where the investigation will lead. But on the surface, at least, legal experts say, it appears that Ms. White is exploring whether the Clintons or the people who advocated for pardons and clemencies committed bribery or violated the federal gratuities statute.

If Ms. White does go that route in New Square, it raises thorny issues about whether a community's votes can be construed as a ''thing of value'' to be traded illegally.

''I think it's the stuff of which ordinary politics is made,'' said John C. Coffee Jr., a Columbia Law School professor who is an expert on white-collar crime. ''If you reduce it to the simplest case, you have people saying to Hillary Clinton that 'if you pardon our four community leaders, we will vote for you,' and that is a statement that we exchange our votes for a political act.

''That is generally what every politician does. You vote for me and there will be no new taxes. I will do this in return for your votes. You are permitted to exchange votes for specific acts. You can't bribe people, but you can bribe them with the legitimate currency of your votes.'' (source)
This saddest part is this comment, "I think it's the stuff of which ordinary politics is made..."

Pot, meet Kettle. Oh, I see you know each other already.

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