Friday, October 28, 2005 at 10:08 AM
Which of these two White House aides just looks guilty: Vice President Cheney’s smug Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter Libby (above) or President Bush’s cherubic political architect Karl Rove (below)?
Like kids giddy with suspense on Christmas morning, today all of Washington is anxiously awaiting the announcement by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald of indictments against senior aides in the Bush Administration based on his 2-year CIA leak investigation. Indeed, as the ironical torpedoing of the Harriet Miers nomination demonstrated (see article below), it is very likely that moderate members of President Bush’s own Republican Party will be just as happy as gloating Democrats to see his aides indicted.
Despite the mandated secrecy of grand jury proceedings, everyone expects Fitzgerald to indict Bush’s political “architect” Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby. And, even though indictments will effectively end their political careers (and probably their freedom for a little while), predictions that they will plunge Bush’s presidency into complete disarray and fecklessness are grossly exaggerated. If either Rove or Libby (or both) is indicted, however, he (they) will soon be relegated to the dust-bin of Washington history – after pro forma Presidential pardon(s) for all crimes committed that everyone expects Bush will grant on his last day in office in January 2008.
But there could be a silver lining in the political dark clouds now hovering above the White House. Because these indictments would provide the perfect cover for Bush to finally extricate himself from the neo-con cabal that led his presidency astray (into Iraq) and drove away his most prudent adviser, former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Moreover, if he is favoured by the gods, someone he genuinely respects – his wife Laura – will do for Bush what Nancy Reagan did for her husband President Ronald Reagan when his presidency was in similar crisis: Namely, advise him to get rid of the ring leader of this White House cabal – Vice President Dick Cheney - who, after all, will be an un-indicted co-conspirator if Libby is indicted. The country deserves this act of enlightened courage and his legacy demands it.
And, just imagine how fortuitously things could fall into place after that: He could appoint Condoleezza Rice as his VP – positioning her to win the Republican nomination for president in 2008 by acclamation; He could appoint a female John Roberts as his substitute nominee to the Supreme Court (but one predisposed to overturn abortion rights as payment to his right wing for firing their godfather Cheney); and he could hire a new political architect (if Rove is indicted or remains unrepentant) to help him reclaim the political centre at home (as he did on Education and had even liberal Sen. Ted Kennedy singing his praises) and chart a more pragmatic and sensible course abroad (as he did when he emulated his Daddy by amassing a true coalition to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
All quite simple really; stay tuned…
***UPDATE: Like everyone else in Washington, I just watched special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s press conference on his indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby. I was especially struck by the righteous indignation he projected when he explained why the crimes he alleges against Libby are so serious, and why he has no regret about incarcerating reporter Judith Miller for failing to reveal Libby as the source of classified (top secret) information. And, in the disingenuously maligned tradition of “I told you so”, that is essentially how I characterised this political saga – perhaps with more sarcasm than self-righteousness – in this article on 7 July.