Friday, October 21, 2005

That's because he's competent

Republicans have spent quite a bit of money in the last decade on legal endeavors that return no obvious positive benefit to their constituents. The recall campaign in California and the upcoming expensive special election that could have waited are two prime examples. On the national level the GOP likes to maintain that they support banning frivolous litigation while engaging in it when it suits their purpose. | Fitzgerald is no Ken Starr: "My recollection is that Weisberg -- and others like him who now complain so bitterly about Fitzgerald -- voiced few criticisms of Starr or the Whitewater investigation. My additional recollection is that many of these same writers felt we simply must learn the 'truth' about the ancient Arkansas land deal, even though it had nothing whatsoever to do with Clinton's presidency, national security or weapons of mass destruction, and therefore Starr's unpleasant methods, such as indicting various people on 'creative crap charges' that had nothing to do with Whitewater, had to be accepted.

Tierney had little to say about Starr or Whitewater, except for occasional smirking asides about the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He certainly never exhibited any deep concern about the excesses of the independent counsel back then. Like so much of the whining that now emanates from Republican quarters about political prosecutions and prosecutorial excess, Tierney's complaint reeks of bad faith.

Yet an honest comparison with Starr is actually a useful exercise, if only because it helps to illustrate the phoniness of the grievances against Fitzgerald.

Starr was appointed by Republican judges, under the dubious influence of Republican Sens. Jesse Helms and Lauch Faircloth. He had no prosecutorial experience and proved to be an inept partisan. His investigation meandered repeatedly into new areas far afield from his original brief, took nearly five years to complete, required many grand jury extensions, and cost approximately $70 million. Starr and his prosecutors leaked promiscuously to favored reporters throughout the probe, thereby ensuring favorable press coverage and inflicting political damage on their White House targets.

Fitzgerald was appointed by the Bush administration's own deputy attorney general, as noted above, at the request of the CIA director. He boasts extensive experience and success as a federal prosecutor. He boasts extensive experience and success as a federal prosecutor. He is not only skilled but absolutely free of any partisan taint, having prosecuted both Republicans and Democrats in Illinois. His investigation of the CIA leak will be wrapped up after less than two years, without any grand jury extensions. His office has been remarkably free of leaks, which may help explain why he gets none of the fawning publicity that was once lavished on Starr."
A good proportion of America has either seen or heard of Law & Order and therefore is pretty familiar with the grand jury experience. McCoy or whichever cute assistant DA presents evidence to the grand jury, either the target or a snitch testifies trying to make themselves look innocent or that someone is out to get them, and the grand jury returns an indictment. Sometimes it is what he asked for and occaisionally more than he was expecting. Mr. Fitzgerald seems the type to receive the latter.

One if by land, two if by sea. The indictments are coming, the indictments are coming.

And one of the reasons I think they are coming is something a little out there, but here goes. A famous James Carville quote is "if your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil". He has been extremely quiet since the Novak incident, probably wishing his wife was just wearing a wig.

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