October 25, 2005

Conservatives Claim Perjury Doesn't Matter

The Bush Administration has reversed its position and now says that it can’t comment about the CIA leak investigation. But that hasn’t stopped its allies at Blogs for Bush and elsewhere from launching “preventive strikes” against the non-partisan prosecutor's case. This week’s strategy is to say that there is nothing wrong with lying to the grand jury or obstructing justice.

Michael Barone wrote a typical apologia at Town Hall.com. He says that if charges are not brought for the CIA leak, it

leaves the question of whether Rove, Libby or someone else will be indicted for perjury, obstruction of justice or making false statements in the course of the investigation. But why should there be indictments if there was no crime?

The hypocrisy here stinks worse than Corsican cheese. The conservative establishment answered Barone's question each time it attacked Clinton over Lewinsky. Here’s how Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is also now parroting the “perjury doesn’t matter” defense, put it in 1999, as reported on Think Progress:

[S]omething needs to be said that is a clear message that our rule of law is intact and the standards for perjury and obstruction of justice are not gray. And I think it is most important that we make that statement and that it be on the record for history.

I very much worry that with the evidence that we have seen that grand juries across America are going to start asking questions about what is obstruction of justice, what is perjury. And I don’t want there to be any lessening of the standard. Because our system of criminal justice depends on people telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is the lynch pin of our criminal justice system and I don’t want it to be faded in any way.

And let’s not forgot that the stakes in this case (national security) are much higher than in that case (Clinton’s marriage).

It's not the first example of shameless hypocrisy from this Administration, but this is really a new low.

By Will Friedman in High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Politics | Permalink  | 

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