BACK in 1999 when the U.S. Senate tried and ultimately acquitted President Bill Clinton after he was impeached by the House, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas had no doubt about the seriousness of the alleged crime. Clinton stood accused of lying under oath and obstructing the investigation of his relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky.
"What would we be telling Americans," Hutchison asked, "if the Senate of the United States were to conclude: The president lied under oath as an element of a scheme to obstruct the due process of law, but we chose to look the other way. I cannot make that choice. I cannot look away."
As news accounts indicate special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald might be preparing to bring perjury and obstruction of justice charges against Bush administration officials involved in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, Hutchison is taking a different view. Appearing on Meet the Press Sunday, she seemed quite willing to look away from such violations this time around.
The senator decried the tendency of prosecutors and district attorneys to "go for technicalities, sort of a gotcha mentality in this country." If Fitzgerald does return indictments, she hoped that they would involve a crime and not some "perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on a crime."
When Meet the Press host Tim Russert pointed out the contradiction between her past and current positions on perjury and obstruction, Hutchison responded that there were other charges against Clinton and, "I'm not saying that those were not crimes. They are." Hutchison went on to express sympathy for homemaking maven Martha Stewart, convicted "where they couldn't find a crime and they indict on something that she said about something that wasn't a crime."
One cannot pick and choose when a charge is justified. Lying to investigators and grand juries is not a technicality. Our system of law depends on the ability of law enforcement to get at the truth, both in interviews with investigators and in sworn testimony in court. The penalties can be personally devastating and often do not hinge on other crimes. Former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros continues to be dogged by a decade-long investigation set off by his admitted lies to FBI agents vetting him for a Cabinet post about how much money he had paid a former mistress, an act that was not a crime.
If Hutchison found perjury and obstruction reason enough to throw a president out of office, surely those offenses would be sufficient cause to charge people if they obstructed a probe of a potential violation of national security laws. The unmasking of a covert CIA operative can have life and death consequences for previous associates met over the years in countries around the world.
Public officials such as Sen. Hutchison do not enhance their stature when they seem to support one standard of justice for officials of the opposing party and another for their own. What was good for the Democratic goose in the Clinton impeachment trial should be good enough for the Republican gander in the Plame investigation.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
A site for cross-posting and posting original stories from around Texas that reveal the character of the Texas right wing. So much dirt. Such a big state.
This site brings Texas bloggers together to keep an eye on the actions of Texas right-wingers. Yes, friends. The radical conservative Republican politicians and activists who rule this state assume that nobody is watching.
They are hoping that nobody remembers Sen. John Cornyn's statements justifying violence against judges or Majority Leader Tom DeLay's zealous intervention into a private family dispute that spawned a media circus. Or Congressman Sam Johnson's intimation that he could personally nuke Syria. Or that Kay Bailey Hutchison has hired one of the "swift boat" smear architects for her gubernatorial campaign. Or that Republican corruption in the Dallas County Police Department has contributed to outrageous crime rates. Or the actions and stunts of the Young Conservatives of Texas on college campuses all across the state.
Well, they have had over ten years to lead. They haven't led. We will.
Email GaremkoReport at yahoo dot com to join.