Monday, July 11, 2005

ROVE-ING TOWARD THE TRUTH (we don't have to win to not lose)

Don't have much to say about the Rove revelations that hasn't already been said. I disagree with Bob Somerby at the Howler about several things in his column today about the left's take on the Rove sitch. I think we should be making lots of noise and filling the air with a bunch of triumphalism, just like the Repukes did with Clinton. It worked, didn't it? I mean, if the beating that the Refucklicans gave W.J. Clinton didn't fuck up Clinton, the Democratic Party, and the country, then nothing did.

I say that to say that we should be foaming at the mouth for the downfall of Rove, even if it doesn't come down exactly the way we hope it will. After all, the Repukes did not achieve Clinton's removal from office, but hell, by the time they were done with him, it was almost as if he had been removed from office.

And that's the point with Rove and Bush. So what if Rove doesn't go to jail or get fired as a result of this? The point is for him to be walking wounded, so that the grilling Scott McClellan got today intensifies and Rove/Bush just becomes an untrustworthy joke, that the conventional wisdom becomes that "Bush wouldn't even fire Rove even though Rove was the leaker and Bush said he'd fire the leaker--you can't trust Bush, he says one thing and does another," etc. If the only positive thing that comes out of this is that the press finally gets its nuts back and calls bullshit on these guys as directly and fearlessly as it did today, that'll be more than we can say for the last several years.

Because frankly, this law about not outing undercover agents seems impossible to break even if you wanted to. That's how some people are talking about the Rove situation, pointing out that the law says that to violate the law, the violator has to "knowingly" reveal an agent's identity. And so far all we know for sure is that Rove referred to Valerie Plame as "Wilson's wife" in conversations with Time's Matt Cooper.

It sounds like this law was passed only for political purposes, as it is all but unenforceable. I mean, how can you prove in court that someone "knows" something? The accused can simply deny "knowing" as Rove has and then the prosecution has to find a way to prove "knowledge."

Come to think of it, that's the only way the right-wing crazies have been able to defend Bush and his lies about the Iraq war--they take the George Costanza approach, saying that a person cannot be said to be lying if they really believe what they're saying is true, as they say Bush was doing when he spoke about the threat from Iraqi WMD. That seems to me to be an all but nonexistent standard to define what a lie is--if people caught in lies have only to protest that they believed their lies to be truth at the time they were lying, then no one can ever be found guilty of perjury, one of the Ten Commandments (I don't know which number "bearing false witness" is and don't care to look it up right now) is null and void, etc.

It seems to me that a better standard is to hold a person to what they reasonably should have known or could have known. In Rove's case, for example, he claims not have known Plame's name and split hairs saying "I didn't leak her name." And that last part may actually be true, but the first part also more than likely is false--Rove was certainly in a position to know her name, having access to lots of classified material. In other words, he had the motive and the opportunity.

But that only creates a circumstantial case, but from what I have read of the wording of the law, it seems that a circumstantial case is the only kind of case that can be created regarding breaking this law.

But enough of that. Let us continue to make noise about this and not let it pass, not wait for it all to be sussed out before we pass judgment. That's how we lose. And we must remember, that we don't have to win to not lose. As long as Rove and Bush are sullied by this affair (as they should be sullied, at the very least) and the press sticks it to them harder and more skeptically, that's a victory, however small.

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