America's ominously diverging conversations
By Christopher Adamo
web posted March 19, 2007
Several dangerous precedents were set in the recent kangaroo court conviction of former Cheney Chief of Staff Scooter Libby. To begin with, Libby was tried and convicted for the crime of obstructing justice, ostensibly by providing false information during grand jury testimony.
The entirety of the investigation was billed under the heading of determining the identity of the individual who had divulged the employment status of Valerie Plame, who had once been a covert CIA agent. So ambiguous was the nature of the investigation and subsequent trial, that presiding Federal District Judge Reggie B. Walton would not even allow the jury to know if Plame indeed had been covert.
Nevertheless, from the moment Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald began the investigation, he knew that Libby was not the guilty party. At worst, Libby merely became entangled in a "he said/she said" controversy with reporter, political commentator, and former Democrat staffer Tim Russert.
Perhaps the worst aspect of this thoroughly politicized judicial circus was that, against such a backdrop, two completely disjointed assessments of the situation have been presented to the public. And the public is free to believe whichever it desires, often not as a result of analysis of the facts, but according to one's political leanings.
In one version, Plame's identity had been widely known, her name and livelihood appearing on her husband's website and common among socialite circles in Washington D.C. Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who even admitted that he had initially divulged Plame's identity to reporters, was granted immunity by Fitzgerald.
So Libby's crime could not possibly have amounted to anything more severe than stumbling over details of phone conversations with Russert from a few years ago.
The other camp, while never disputing any of the aforementioned facts, characterizes the situation as a grave breach of security, endangering Plame and thus the entire CIA intelligence apparatus. According to these people, Libby is merely the tip of a sinister iceberg, including such fiends as Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, who must be sought out, tried, and convicted of high crimes against the Republic.
What is most noteworthy, and indicative of the greatest danger posed here, is that no commonality whatsoever can be found between these two completely disjointed accounts of the events. Clearly, somebody within this melee is deliberately misrepresenting it in its entirety to the American people. Considering the stakes, such behavior bespeaks of sedition.
Nor is it productive to revert to the banal schoolyard platitude of assuming that the "truth" lies somewhere in the middle. When a political force attempts to dominate and govern, based on a strategy of distortion, character assassination, and ultimately, the criminalization of opposing points of view, the worst possible response is to grant it credibility.
If one of the two camps is willing to destroy any person, tell any lie, and eradicate any evidence (remember Sandy Berger and Jamie Gorelick) that gets in its way, the truth most certainly does not lie "somewhere in between" the two.
Yet as abominable a miscarriage of justice as is the Libby prosecution/trial, it is only an indicator of the current nature of American politics, and the point to which it has degenerated ever since the advent of the Clinton Administration. The Libby travesty is in fact only the most recent, albeit among the most glaring incidents of its kind.
Ever since the Clintons and their political machine arrived in Washington, their sordid practices have been almost universally adopted by Democrats. And the degree to which the Democrats are enjoying successes for their efforts is truly alarming.
Sadly, the all-too-common Republican reaction is to either play a completely defensive game, or to attempt to ignore the problem altogether. The first response will at best only stifle the advancement of the liberal/Democrat power grab. The second will allow this malignancy to metastasize and eventually achieve complete dominion over the political process.
A few other notable examples of this current trend highlight the seriousness of the problem and the degree to which the entire political process has been hijacked.
From the Iraq war to Hurricane Katrina, to the "global warming crisis," little if any of the ongoing discussion is being conducted between two parties with honest concerns for the best avenue by which to address the situation. Instead, the left invents outlandish accusations, which are then incessantly echoed by its media lackeys.
Those on the right attempt to refute and debunk these accusations with facts, but often find their arguments falling on deaf ears. Eventually, the issue at hand becomes entangled in vast concocted webs of conspiracy and malfeasance, all of George Bush's doing, of course.
As a result of this process, no public interest is served. Worse yet, those who have access to the truth, and who really want the conversation to revert back to a discussion of the facts, find themselves increasingly frustrated and marginalized as the contest is diverted from truth to the realm of political horse races.
Finally, it is necessary to ponder the end result of such callous indifference to the national plight. In the short term, those in leadership are distracted and forced into inconsequential games while dangers mount, as they did during the 1990's, with another day of reckoning coming just as it did on 9-11.
Briefly mustering a remnant of its former greatness, America responded to that event with resolve and vigor. Only as the Democrats succeeded in derailing the substance of virtually every issue related to the attacks did they undermine the debate, and eventually overshadow the raw truth of the menace facing the country. Thus the nation once again began to flounder in its efforts to confront the Islamist threat.
But if the political conversation remains as dysfunctional as it is today, our nation may forever lose its ability to objectively confront the dangers of a hostile world. And that, the real legacy of the Clinton political machine, will be the undoing of America.
Christopher G. Adamo is a freelance writer and staff writer for the New Media Alliance. He lives in southeastern Wyoming. He has been active in local and state politics for many years. His contact information and archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com.
Send a link to this story
Send a link to this story
Get weekly updates about new issues