Third Party & Independents Archives

Democrats Suddenly Care About Perjury and Justice

I’ve tried my best to stay out of the whole Scooter Libby affair. It just didn’t interest me, but I knew that the story would only get bigger when Libby was found guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice. As expected, President Bush commuted his 30-month prison sentence and Democrats started flying off the wall as if Bush just coddled a serial killer.

That Democrats are so determined to see Libby in a prison cell for committing perjury and obstruction of justice is quite interesting considering that these same Democrats were the ones who reduced themselves to the mantra: "it was just a bl--job" when beloved President Clinton committed perjury and obstruction of justice.

Libby lied to a grand jury about what he told reporters before Valerie Plame's name was revealed. Clinton lied to a grand jury about his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinski. No one’s comparing the two cases, but it’s undeniably true that President Clinton committed the same crimes. But he never faced jail time; Republicans just wanted the liar out of office. Libby lost his job and got a prison sentence.

Democrats were outraged over the Clinton impeachment and his subsequent disbarment. Sure, it was perjury and obstruction of justice, but he was just trying to protect his family that he didn’t so much care about when he was being pleasured by a White House intern.

Libby (not the president by a chief of staff to the vice president) didn't give federal investigators the right names and because of that Democrats want him rotting in prison for two and a half years.

MoveOn.org, one of the most influential liberal political action committees, was established in 1998 to defend President Clinton for committing perjury and obstruction of justice. Today, they're fuming with rage because someone who isn't President Clinton was spared for committing perjury and obstruction of justice.

Posted by Scottie at July 3, 2007 7:02 PM
Comments
Comment #224734

Be careful Scottie, you’re about to be accused of being a con who is simply deflecting…

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 3, 2007 7:40 PM
Comment #224741

May I put your shoe on the other foot?
Republican quotes on the value of perjury:

“How can parents instill values and morality in their children?” asked a befuddled Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE). “How can educators teach our children? How can the rule of law for every American be applied equally if we have two standards of justice in America – one for the powerful and the other for the rest of us?”

Former Senator Bill Frist joined Hagel in slamming Bush’s actions, saying the commutation amounted to unfair treatment. “He is not above the law,” said the clearly enraged Republican from Tennessee. “If an ordinary citizen committed these crimes, he would go to jail.”

You would think, of all places, President Bush would find some love in his home state of Texas — but no so. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said the Libby communion jeopardizes the nation’s entire legal system.

“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,” the senator said. “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.”

Fellow Republican Texan Tom Delay, himself indicted, nonetheless issued a scathing attack on the commutation.

“No man is above the law, and no man is below the law,” Delay said, choking back tears. “That’s the principle that we all hold very dear in this country.”

Of course, these people weren’t talking about Libby at all. They are real quotes, all made during the Clinton impeachment.

Posted by: Timmer at July 3, 2007 8:27 PM
Comment #224742

Timmer,

So you’re saying that the Dems have found the Perjury religion and the Reps have lost it?

That both parties are pretty much partisan scum who would sell their own grandmother down the river if it would buy them a few votes?

Sounds about right to me.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 3, 2007 8:37 PM
Comment #224743

Timmer, Rhinehold
AMEN

Posted by: KAP at July 3, 2007 8:51 PM
Comment #224751

In the case of Clinton it was just a b-job. It affected his family and only his family and was used specifically to try to get him out of office. In the case of Libby it is just Treason, or rather the attempt to protect a treasonist from being prosicuted. The fact that President Bush doesn’t find this to be a crime even worthy of a mere 30 months in jail leads one to believe he either is protecting himself or doesn’t find treason to be worthy of an investigation. And before you start claiming treason wasn’t committed it determined by the courts that Plame was indeed undercover and was exposed as an agent. That is treason by law. One of the big reasons the treasonist can not be brought to justice is because Scooter Libby lied under oath. Comparing that to a b-job is just unbelievable.

Posted by: Lil Sue at July 3, 2007 10:48 PM
Comment #224755

Lil Sue,

Ah, pushing the ‘it was just a blowjob’ line. *sigh*. The rhetoric never ends…

Clinton lied under oath in a sexual harassment lawsuit to save his skin. He ended up settling out of court. I’ll ask you what I’ve asked others, is sexual harassment not a serious issue among liberal women since the mid 90’s anymore?

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 3, 2007 10:58 PM
Comment #224756

The law doesn’t distinguish between “acceptable” and “unacceptable” reasons for committing perjury. There are no extenuating circumstances for perjury.

Perjury is perjury is perjury.

All this latest episode proves is that both parties are, to quote Rhinehold “pretty much partisan scum who would sell their own grandmother down the river if it would buy them a few votes” and Hippocrates as well.

Posted by: Peter at July 3, 2007 11:04 PM
Comment #224759

Sexual harassment is indeed a serious issue and should be prosecuted under the law. But I don’t find it to be nearly as serious as treason. Surely you would agree that treason is a far greater crime than sexual harassment. It certainly carries a stiffer sentence. As long it goes unpunished, we remain at risk for more treasonous acts.

Posted by: Lil Sue at July 4, 2007 12:29 AM
Comment #224768

This is all just bull, it is games of the duopoly. The fact is that the President has the Constitutional power to do such. But because of the duopoly, whenever Republicans do it Democrats point and shout and whenever Democrats do it Republicans point and shout. It’s just as all they think about is he is not on my team so he is bad, and both teams think that way. Sadly.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at July 4, 2007 3:13 AM
Comment #224769

Your argument is interesting, but comparing the two cases doesn’t quite work. If law and politics were
without nuance, it would be fine to say that the two situations were similar. The first situation, in which a president commits perjury regarding a sexual liason, when there is no ongoing investigation of a treasonous offense, is different from that of an aide committing perjury, and thereby blocking an investigation of treason possibly emanating from the Vice-President’s office……

The background and history of each situation is rich, and the implications equally so.

It will be interesting to see how they are judged in the future, perhaps by folks wiser than us.

Posted by: apollon at July 4, 2007 4:05 AM
Comment #224770
No one’s comparing the two cases, but it’s undeniably true that President Clinton committed the same crimes.

No it isn’t. To quote the independent counsel, Robert Ray:

This office determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that either President or Mrs. Clinton knowingly participated in any criminal conduct.
Posted by: Woody Mena at July 4, 2007 7:44 AM
Comment #224773

Perjury is perjury, and it’s time we stop defining it by our political ends. The law should not be defined that way.

Clinton deserved what punishment he got. A President should not feel entitled to lie, nor should he feel free to encourage others to lie on his behalf, nor should anybody reward such dishonesty.

All that said, The Republicans were unable to prove their charges sufficiently to convict him in the impeachment trial, and as Woody’s quotation demonstrates, there wasn’t sufficient evidence to indict or convict him of a crime. He did suffer legal consequences, because of his unethical conduct in trying to mislead the court, but that was the limit of it.

Scooter Libby was indicted, convicted, and sentenced to a period of two and a half years in prison. This was for crimes he could have spent upwards of twenty years in jail for. He’d be spending less than a year for every ten he might have spent in jail.

The President says that his sentence was too harsh. The guy committed multiple felonies, each of which carried a far longer sentence than he would have been sentenced to. He was getting off very light. But of course, the President knew Libby, so it was very much personal.

Trying to equate the parties in this case, using Clinton as a frame of reference, is an act of equivocation. For those equally disgusted with both parts, it might seem proper to be equally disgusted with both men. But where Clinton’s crime was one of legal semantics, Libby’s crime was to create a story out of whole cloth. He changed his source, he changed the dates during which he knew the information, deliberately lead investigators away from himself and his colleagues as perpetrators of the leak, which in fact, they were.

He knowingly and deliberately interfered with an investigation into a national security breach, knowing that the trail would lead to him and his colleagues. The whole point of all that he did was to get away with what he believed was a crime. Not trying to interfere with some lawsuit against him, which would have been bad enough, but to interfere with a federal investigation into crimes he believed he may have committed.

Those on the right who apologize for this will likely say that he feared unfair prosecution by politically motivated authorities. Never mind he was prosecuted and judged by Republicans. Why would they all of a sudden become raving liberals, just to prosecute on of their own. Oh, I know, because then people can play the party card, and not have to acknowledge that something real, something wrong had been done.

Are the Democrats perfect? By no means. Clinton lied too. Other Democrats have undoubtedly done worse. Is that because they’re Democrats? It’s got nothing to do with it. Both sides can be corrupt. There is no easy answer to the question of what we do when faced with that corruption, not when we equate some part of justice in the world with having our party win.

We have to step back and see justice in more objective terms. It helps if it’s the other party, or the other side of the political divide, to be honest, but we must do it for our own parties, or we will end up like the Republican Party is now. So let me say it outright: when corruption becomes evident, we should be skeptical, and on our guard for political chicanery, but we should have the courage to acknowledge when one of our own has been or is in the wrong.

The more of this bad behavior we tolerate, the more we conflate the interests of our parties with the interests of the country, the more we’re apt to serve neither, and allow injustice, mischief, and criminal behavior to be done in our names.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 4, 2007 10:23 AM
Comment #224779

Scottie, you miss the point entirely. Government has become corrupt. The commutation of sentence is simply more evidence of that. Pardons and commutation of sentences were intended for those circumstances when the justice system failed and convicted an innocent person or, otherwise delivered and unjust verdict.

In the Scooter Libby case, there was no unjust verdict, he lied and obstructed a legally convened investigation, and the his sentence followed sentencing guidelines, which Republicans have been strongly in support of.

They Hypocrisy of Republicans to support sentencing guidelines for the common people but except their own from them, just simply goes beyond any sense of reasonableness, and stinks of yet more political corruption.

The American people owe their children and our nation’s future a far less corrupt political and government system than that which has been growing in power these last few decades. As Barrack Obama says, the corruption by the special interests and lobbyists, with campaign donations or withholding them, is what prevents the solutions the American people expect and want from government.

There should be one justice for all, not two: one for the common people, and another for the rich and powerful. Whether it be blackmail or bribery, or, commutation and pardon, the same system and rules applied to the common people must also apply to the rich and powerful. To accomplish this, the American voters must remove incumbent politicians blocking the way.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 4, 2007 11:45 AM
Comment #224780

stephen

“The Republicans were unable to prove their charges sufficiently to convict him in the impeachment trial, “

the way i remember it, was that the house voted for impeachment, and as usual the blowhards in the senate didn’t have the balls to pull the trigger. just as well though, we’d a ennded up with al gore as pres. now there’s a scary thuoght.

since we’re talking about clinton, how about the puerto rican terrorists he pardoned, that were spending life in prison for bombings committed in the 1970s that killed and maimed federal agents. all to secure the puerto rican vote for hiilarys’ senate run.

the outrage by the dems on this is typical. why isn’t richard armitage being prosecuted ? after all wasn’t he the original leaker ? at least besides plames husband running his mouth all over town about his wife working for the CIA. the corruption and partisan crap that goes on, on both sides of the aisle is just incredible, and i just love the pot calling the kettle black. what a bunch of crap.

Posted by: dbs at July 4, 2007 12:07 PM
Comment #224789

1. It’s a given that both “sides” tend to see things differently depending on which foot the shoe is on.

2. That does not diminish the differences between the two cases cases. Certainly, there is a fundamental similarity, i.e., both involved perjury. When considering what the appropriate outcome (e.g., punishment or consequence) should be, all perjuries are not the same. Were that true, we could dispense with sentencing hearings and guidelines and such and simply sentence all perjurers alike. Few see the world to be that simple.

I see these primary differences: (a) Ultimate findings. In one case, the trier of fact found perjury to have been proven, and in the other it did not—hardly a trivial point. (b) Subject of perjury. In one case, the alleged perjury aimed to keep a sexual affair or perhaps even sexual harassment secret. In the other, the perjury aimed to obstruct a criminal investigation of government officials suspected of felonies in the conduct of their official duties—felonies implicating laws to protect national security. (c) Punishment or consequences. In one case, the sentence imposed was a fine and imprisonment—which naturally affects the individual and his friends and associates. In the other, the proposed “sentence” was removal from the highest elected office in the land—which affects the individual and his friends and associates … and every citizen and resident in the land and many others around the world and the conduct of the business of the federal government and foreign policy, etc. The irony is that the crime implicating official duties was to be punished by the sentence with largely individual consequences, and the offense implicating personal conduct was to be punished by the sentence with official consequences of national and worldwide scope.

Those differences may be weighed differently by each of us. They cannot, though, be denied or dismissed—without sacrificing, that is, any basis for reasoned comparison.

Posted by: Doug Indeap at July 4, 2007 6:09 PM
Comment #224791

dbs-
I guess that’s the way you remember the impeachment. The truth of the matter is, the impeachment was mostly political, and when the politics didn’t work out like they planned, they chickened out.

I did some research on the FALN thing. Here’s what I found out. One interesting fact is that Hillary seems to have come out against it. So is this help supposed to be some sort of twisty plot here?

As for facts of the Wilson Case, nobody could find folks to back up the charges that Joseph Wilson was loose with his wife’s identity. All they could find were folks quite willing to speak up for the press, but curiously absent when it came to an investigation managed by a Republican Prosecutor. As for Armitage, the trouble with him is that the law is poorly written.

One, the law says that it’s a crime if it was intended to harm American interests. Two, it would be difficult to establish whether he knew the information was that sensitive, since he claimed to have heard it as gossip.

A third aspect to this is the very perjury and obstruction of justice that Libby was convicted of. Libby interefered with the investigation. He lied about the fact that he had talked to a reporter about this matter quite a number of days before Armitage leaked to Novak. The investigation might have gotten the evidence it needed to convict if Libby had been straight with them. That stands as the simplest reason why Libby would concoct an elaborate cover story like the one he is on record giving to the investigation.

You’re making excuses for bad behavior instead of opposing the behavior itself.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 4, 2007 6:12 PM
Comment #224842

An important difference between the Clinton and Libby situations is that the underlying offense of the Clinton perjury trial was sexual harassment, which, while illegal, is not a crime. This is an important distinction — you can’t go to jail for sexual harassment, unless you violate some other criminal law in the course of committing it. It is generally a civil offense, not a criminal one.

The matter being investigated when Libby lied under oath and obstructed justice was a criminal offense.

Posted by: Yossarian at July 5, 2007 1:02 AM
Comment #224856

Wait, let me scroll up….. nope, this ISN’T the Red side of this blog, I was wrong. Sure sounds like it though. Our pal Scottie here sure is pulling the same crappy trick that everyone on the Right pulls, from Rush Limbaugh on down: reframe the debate and you delete your opponent’s ability to argue. So it is no longer about whether or not the commutation of Libby’s sentence is further proof of the cronyism and corruption in the Bush II Administration, instead it is about (drum roll please, Maestro) CLINTON!! This comes up every frickin’ time. Signing statements being abused? CLINTON!! Ditto with Executive Orders? CLINTON!! Questionable financial transactions in the past? CLINTON!! And every time, the Left falls for it and the debate changes from “Bush did something bad”, which is about facts, to “who is worse, Free Willie or the Shrub?”, which is about opinions.

This, BTW, is exactly why it would be a disaster if Hillary gets the nomination. It would no longer be about her policies or her abilities, but about her husband. The Right will come out in droves, and it won’t matter who they vote for as long as they get to vote against Hillary. The Republican nominee will win, and then will win again in 2012, since with our current political system it would be almost impossible to defeat an incumbent Republican, and the next chance a Democrat will get to be in the White House will be the year my 8 year old son graduates high school.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at July 5, 2007 9:33 AM
Comment #224913

DBS explain to me how Al Gore in the White House is “SCARY”?

Scary? Really?

Posted by: Paul at July 5, 2007 3:21 PM
Comment #224924

Yes, very very scary.

Details?

Well, when 9/11 hit we would have a police effort to find those responsible, Afghanistan would have remained as it was, some of the lackeys may have been found but bin laden would still be free

(how do I know? Wasn’t he 2nd in charge when the 1st WTC attack occured? What happened afterwards?)

I could go on, our taxes would be so high now trying to meet the unreasonable Kyoto protocols which was simply a way to divert money from rich countries to poor ones under the guise of environmentalism (which it did not address), paying for healthcare in a way that most rich individuals would have to go underground to get decent healthcare (the poor wouldn’t be able to afford it), etc.

Very very scary. Scarier then our current administration? Hard to say, I would equate them about the same. One would have reacted to 9/11 in an underwhelming manner, the other reacted overwhelmingly…

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 5, 2007 4:36 PM
Comment #224925
Wait, let me scroll up….. nope, this ISN’T the Red side of this blog, I was wrong. Sure sounds like it though.

Scottie,

See, I warned you. How dare you point out the hypocrisy of the Left! Nevermind that you and others who agree with you are opposed to what Bush did, that’s irrelevant, you’re attacking the left, therefore you are a con and can be attacked on that basis and your point ignored!

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 5, 2007 4:39 PM
Comment #224941

Rhinehold, When the shoe fits… Leatherankh is exactly right. Who gives a rats patooty about Clinton and the old news of his presidency? Two completely different issues yet you would think its all about Clinton from the post. To prove Leatherankh’s point look at the thread, count how many times you see Clinton and how many times you see Libby. The issue is Bush and the coverup of treason demonstrated so aptly with this recent commutation of prison time for Libby.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 5, 2007 6:36 PM
Comment #224956

Rhinehold,

Even your hypothetical nightmare foreign policy scenario is no worse than what actually happened. Bin Laden is free, and Afghanistan is in shambles. You don’t see anything about Iraq — I think we can agree that Gore would not have invaded.

And do you really think the GOP would have let Pres. Gore raise taxes through the roof?

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 5, 2007 9:29 PM
Comment #224970

Gee, j2t2, this article was about democrats and their reaction to the Libby sentancing commute, you mean the comments included more discussion about democrats?

Please, I’m sorry if you don’t like the subject or content of the debate at hand, but not everyone is fixated soley on the idiocy of the sentance commute. Some of us find the hypocrisy that the democrats are displaying expected but also indicative of what is wrong with BOTH major parties in the US.

If in your mind you need to equate that to anyone disagreeing with you a neo-con trying to deflect attention away from Bush’s immense mistake in commuting the sentance, so be it. It just let’s me know that instead of actually reading what is being written, attacking the other party (who isn’t involved here at all) is the only defense some people have.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 5, 2007 10:46 PM
Comment #224972

Woody,

Where in my comments did I saw that Gore would be worse than Bush? I only mentioned that him as president in 2000 is a scary thought. Same with Kerry in 2004…

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 5, 2007 10:47 PM
Comment #224976

Rhinehold,

By shifting the subject away from the commutation and onto the Clinton-was-bad mantra, you are doing exactly what any good lockstep Neo-Con would be doing in your place. If you start waddling and quacking, people will think “duck”, despite all your independent protestations to the contrary. The crux of the matter is this: bringing up Clinton at this juncture is worse than pointless. I don’t give a rat’s patootie about that right now, and any attempt to bring it up reeks of subject-changing.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at July 5, 2007 11:17 PM
Comment #224990

“An important difference between the Clinton and Libby situations is that the underlying offense of the Clinton perjury trial was sexual harassment, which, while illegal, is not a crime. This is an important distinction — you can’t go to jail for sexual harassment, unless you violate some other criminal law in the course of committing it. It is generally a civil offense, not a criminal one.”
Posted by: Yossarian at July 5, 2007 01:02 AM

But, Yossarian,

If there is evidence that the perpetrator has habitually fondled, attacked, or exposed himself to numerous women, as Paula Jones was attempting to argue in her case, and for which she did, by the way, have evidence, then it becomes more than sexual harrassment. If you think that you can go out on the corner and do what Paula Jones said Bill Clinton did to her, without having a cop come knocking at your door, feel free to try it. If there is substantial evidence or testimony that this sexual deviancy has happened on several occasions to several different women, I can assure you that you will spend several nights on a concrete bunk. If you are a corporate exec., you will lose your job.
Yet, regardless of the underlying offense, and the reasons for committing perjury, perhury is still perjury. However, Clinton was never convicted of anything. Here are some of the statements from Democrats as to why.

“We’re concerned, obviously, because we don’t believe we should be here today while our men and women are fighting abroad. And we have expressed that in the first motion of the day with respect to adjournment. We don’t believe this is a proper time to be debating removing the commander in chief while thousands of men and women are fighting abroad.”
(Minority Whip David Bonior (D-Michigan) about Clinton’s impeachment)

“It’s no wonder to me and to you that the people of our country today are cynical and indifferent and apathetic about our government and about our country. The politics of smear and slash and burn must end.”
(Richard Gephardt CNN about Clinton‘s impeachment)

“Yes, Bill Clinton is guilty of certain indiscretions, in his private life. However, he did not commit high crimes and misdemeanors. Rather the president is guilty of being a populist leader of who opened up government, and access to poor, to minorities, to women, and to the working class.”
(Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) CNN)

Apparently Maxine thought the Republicans were impeaching the poor, minorities, and women? Say what, Maxine?)

“Let us not be confused. Today Republicans are impeaching Social Security, they are impeaching affirmative action, they are impeaching women’s right to choose, Medicare, Medicaid, Supreme Court justices who believe in equal protection under the law for all Americans. Something deeper in history is happening than sex, lying about sex and perjury. In 1868, it was about reconstruction and in 1998, it’s still about reconstruction.”
(Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Illinois) CNN)

See comments above Rep. Jackson!!!

“The House Articles charged the President with having committed perjury. This word ‘perjury’—lawyers can dance all around the head of a pin on that word. I won’t attempt to dance all around on the head of the pin on the word ‘perjury.’ The President plainly lied to the American people. Of course, that is not impeachable, but he also lied under oath in judicial proceedings.”
(Senator Robert Byrd in “behind closed doors” comments right after voting “NOT GUILTY” in Clinton‘s impeachment)


JD

Posted by: JD at July 6, 2007 12:34 AM
Comment #225108

Stephen Daugherty:

AMEN! Nice call without partisanship. No justification or downgrading of wrongs done of people that you may support nor exaggeration of others’ misdeeds. I may disagree with you on several issues, but this kind of candor is what is needed in political debates. Thank you.

Posted by: submariner at July 6, 2007 9:13 PM
Comment #225117

If I hear one more politician say anything about “Integrity” I think I’m going to throw up. The 2 parties dominating the system are the problem. That’s right all of them. Being a nieve stupid ass, I thought the Democratic party just had a bad apple in teh bunch when Clinton lied about the Blow Job. A lie is a lie, and all of them are hurtfull to everyone. After 46 years as a registered Democrat, sorry guys, I jumped ship. That’s right I’m a recovering Democrat, I’m registered as an Independant now, and it feels like someone took a yolk off of my neck.

Posted by: Ken at July 6, 2007 10:52 PM
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