Tuesday, October 25, 2005


No Free Perjury Count...

The left damaged its moral standing almost irreparably in its defense of Bill Clinton during the impeachment process -- not so much on the specifics of the perjury and obstruction of justice charges. The damage came from one-time feminists and supporters of the feminist cause that stated explicitly or at least implied that the Clinton-Lewinsky relationship was, somehow, "okay."

Gloria Steinem was rightly mocked for a
"one free grope" rule that parsed what had previously been seen as rather clear rules on sexual harassment. And so, long-standing principle was sacrificed at the altar of expedience and partisanship.

The right is now in danger of going even further as it seeks to defend potential targets of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said it Sunday:

I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. So they go to something that trips someone up because they said something in the first grand jury and then maybe they found new information or they forgot something and they tried to correct that in a second grand jury.

....But I also think that we are seeing in the judicial process--and look at Martha Stewart, for instance, where they couldn't find a crime and they indict on something that she said about something that wasn't a crime. I think that it is important, of course, that we have a perjury and an obstruction of justice crime, but I also think we are seeing grand juries and U.S. attorneys and district attorneys that go for technicalities, sort of a gotcha mentality in this country.
So, the "rule of law" that so many Republicans staked their political lives on seven years ago is now just a "technicality." Conservatives who historically complained about suspects avoiding the law because of "technicalities" are now deriding grand juries and prosecutors for maximizing the law? Martha Stewart is, somehow, now the poster child for prosecutorial overkill?

The Clinton defenders decried a Kenneth Starr "perjury trap."

The Bush defenders bemoan a Patrick Fitzgerald "perjury technicality."

Oh, please.

If Fitzgerald brings charges and the subjects are not found guilty, great. Then, the indicted can claim vindication. But, do conservatives really want to undermine the entire justice system for political expediency?

Be most careful where you tread and what you wish for.

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