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Friday, October 28, 2005

Perjury, no big deal? Tell that to L'il Kim


We need to be as on point as this
dog is garishly colored

Big Media Matt gives us our talking points

CRIMINALIZING CONSERVATIVES. We're presumably about to witness a long series of accusations and counter-accusations of hypocrisy over the question of whether or not perjury is a serious crime. Jon Chait provides the handy talking points every good liberal will want to refer to:

It's certainly true that not even Karl Rove deserves to go to prison for accidental or inconsequential misstatements. But, if Rove didn't do anything illegal in the first place, then why would he obstruct justice or perjure himself in some substantive way? Clinton's motive for lying was perfectly clear: He wanted to avoid the personal and political embarrassment of confessing his perfectly legal affair with Monica Lewinsky. Indeed, a whole strand of Starr's investigation was set up in order to trap Clinton into lying under oath about his sex life. What motive would Bush's men have to lie except to thwart the prosecution?

The conservatives who crusaded for impeachment, on the other hand, don't want to equate Clinton's perjury with the potential perjury of Bush's aides. They want to argue that the two are very, very different things and that the contrast redounds to the benefit of this administration. Unfortunately for them, it's not immediately obvious why lying about sex is worse than lying about the exposure of a CIA operative. A battalion of conservative intellectuals have thrown themselves heroically into this logical breach...

Another Kristol editorial rages against prosecutors, including--but by no means limited to--Fitzgerald, who are "criminalizing conservatives." This charge may be insane, but--unlike the standard Republican claim that Democrats are "criminalizing politics"--at least it's not hypocritical. Whatever prosecutorial excesses Starr engaged in, "criminalizing conservatives" was not one of them.%2

posted by Steve @ 11:34:00 AM

11:34:00 AM

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