Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Political Prediction

Now that indictments are about to be handed down, let me take this opportunity to predict yet another of those epic partisan flip flops that so afflict our political system. Here are my predictions.

1. No one will be indicted for actually outing Plame, but one or more people, including Rove, Libby or both, will be indicted for perjury and/or obstruction of justice. At that point, the leadership of the two parties will meet on the steps of Capitol Hill and they will exchange the scripts they worked from back in the late 90s.

2. The White House and partisan Republicans will immediately call this a “witch hunt” that had to keep going until they found something. They’ll say that no crime was ever proven and that the perjury and obstruction charges are just technicalities and the whole thing was politically motivated in the first place. Just like the Democrats said about Ken Starr.

3. Partisan Democrats will immediately call this an incredible scandal and will call for heads to roll. They will make speeches that sound exactly like the speeches that Republicans made in the late 1990s – “It’s not what they did, it’s that they lied about it.” They may even call for congressional hearings. Just like Republicans said about Bill Clinton.

4. I also predict, though, that there will be no serious movement for impeachment this time. Not because the Democrats wouldn’t love to do it, but just because they know they don’t have the votes to get it done in Congress.

Let the games begin!

Comments

  1. #1 Michael "Sotek" Ralston
    October 26, 2005

    I disagree with number 4.

    In fact, I think part of the reason the Democrats WILL push for a movement for impeachment is *because* they don’t have the votes to do it.

    That very failure would serve as a weapon in the 2006 midterms, because it would provide a rallying cry for the Democratic base – and possibly even something for the middle.

    The Republican base would hate it, but for the moment it appears as if that wouldn’t be a liability for the Democrats anyway.

  2. #2 Tony
    October 26, 2005

    I can see how tempting it is to call a pox on both houses, but the crimes covered up by the alleged perjuries are fundamentally different.

    Sex outside marriage, no matter what you think of it from a moral standpoint, is practiced every day by ordinary people from all walks of life and both sides of the political fence. In many cases, it tears families apart, but no one dies.

    Ratting out an undercover spy for purely political reasons, in order to cover up an illegal and dishonest push for war on a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and didn’t have WMD–and which has led to more than 2,000 US dead, and far greater numbers of Iraqi dead–is an altogether different story.

    And need I point out that comparing Starr to Fitzgerald does not flatter Starr?

  3. #3 raj
    October 27, 2005

    Bush isn’t going to be impeached–and the congressional Democrats aren’t going to press for impeachment–in large part because there is no political benefit to the Democrats to have Bush impeached.

    Even if Bush is impeached and convicted, who would replace him? Cheney. Who is probably really running the government. So, in the long run, what would impeachment and conviction (both are required) really accomplish? Nothing. The obvious tactic for the Democrats is to let Bush hang himself–publicly-on his own petard, which he seems to be doing.

  4. #4 Michael "Sotek" Ralston
    October 27, 2005

    A successful impeachment would have little gain for the Democrats, yes.

    I could draw parallels to the Republicans and abortion, here, I suspect.

    Thing is – fighting for something is sometimes more useful than actually getting it would be.

  5. #5 Ed Brayton
    October 27, 2005

    Tony said:

    I can see how tempting it is to call a pox on both houses, but the crimes covered up by the alleged perjuries are fundamentally different.

    I recognize this, of course, but you’re missing the point I was trying to make. The point was not that both parties are necessarily wrong; one or the other party is often right. But the fact that they would still take the opposite position even if they were wrong means that no one should take them seriously even when they happen to be right. Non-partisan folks like us can be taken seriously when we say so; partisans of either party are full of crap even if their rhetoric happens to square with reality in this circumstance, simply because they would be using the opposite rhetoric if it served their political goals.

  6. #6 KeithB
    October 27, 2005

    Shouldn’t it be *Cheney* who is impeached?

  7. #7 spyder
    October 27, 2005

    From Miers’ withdrawl letter:
    “I have been informed repeatedly that in lieu of records, I would be expected to testify about my service in the White House to demonstrate my experience and judicial philosophy.

    While I believe that my lengthy career provides sufficient evidence for consideration of my nomination, I am convinced the efforts to obtain Executive Branch materials and information will continue.

    As I stated in my acceptance remarks in the Oval Office, the strength and independence of our three branches of government are critical to the continued success of this great Nation.

    Repeatedly in the course of the process of confirmation for nominees for other positions, I have steadfastly maintained that the independence of the Executive Branch be preserved and its confidential documents and information not be released to further a confirmation process.”

    No matter who wrote this for her, or at least reviewed and edited it prior to release, the point herein is that the Administration clearly never wants the public, or Congress for that matter, to be given any chance whatsoever of finding out what has been going on in that White House building over the last five years.

    My prediction, some are indicted, some reason. All are pardoned by Bush, and the partisan politics never changes. No impeachment, no stumble in the 2006 elections for the GOP as they find suitable talking points and just the right candidates to facilitate protecting the Bushco money machine.

  8. #8 KeithB
    October 27, 2005

    “Bushco money machine”
    If a Post gossip column is to be believed, Arnold is really annoyed that Bush came to So. Cal. to fundraise this week. Arnold told Bush to stay away on the theory that there is just so much money to go around and Arnold wanted it for his pet election next week.

  9. #9 Morat
    October 27, 2005

    make. The point was not that both parties are necessarily wrong; one or the other party is often right. But the fact that they would still take the opposite position even if they were wrong means that no one should take them seriously even when they happen to be right.

    Really? You’re sure of that? Got any data? Any Democratic Administrations that outed an undercover agent, and Republican Presidents who got a blow job and then were hounded by a Democratic-appointed prosecutor?

    Seriously, you’re STILL doing “a pox on both their houses” but you haven’t done anything but assume that things would be different if the shoe were on the other foot.

    Non-partisan folks like us can be taken seriously when we say so; partisans of either party are full of crap even if their rhetoric happens to square with reality in this circumstance, simply because they would be using the opposite rhetoric if it served their political goals.

    “Non-partisan” doesn’t mean you don’t have a particular axe to grind. Speaking from personal experience, the most avidly “non-partisan” folks I’ve met also tend to be the MOST biased. “They both suck” is just as knee-jerk a reaction as “The other side sucks”.

    You’re offering a perfect example here.

  10. #10 Ed Brayton
    October 27, 2005

    Morat-

    Yes, I’m certain of it. Does that mean I can produce evidence of these two exact situations being flip flopped? Of course not. But we all have more than enough experience with the two parties exchanging scripts on issues and taking one position when it suits their political ends, then taking the opposite position when that suits their political ends later on. How many examples would you like to have named before it becomes a reasonable assumption that both parties take positions because it serves their political expediency at the time and not because it’s right?

    The Patriot Act was approved 98-1 by the Senate and now the majority of Democrats think it was a horrible bill that threatens our rights. Why? Nothing has changed since it was signed except that what was in their political interests at the time the bill was up for a vote is no longer in their political interests today. The same is true of the vote to authorize going to war in Iraq. Those who voted for it did so not because they really thought it was the right thing to do but because the polls at the time showed solid public support and they didn’t want to take an unpopular position.

    Politics is virtually never about doing the right thing, it’s about doing the expedient thing, and the letter after the name doesn’t change that fact. It’s the job of partisan political handlers to map out the most expedient strategy. It’s the job of partisan apologists to parse the words and try to make minute distinctions between when they do it and when the other side does it. That’s what I think you’re doing here.

  11. #11 Tony
    October 28, 2005

    Having mulled it over, I have to concede that Ed may have a good point on the blatant partisanship of practically all politicians in the US. Too often I get lulled into thinking bright lights like Paul Hackett are exemplary of Democrats. However, the more I see the DCCC perform, the less I like them. (Howard Dean, though, and Obama…court’s still out on them.)

    My god, have they still not got a platform on Iraq? Where’s the vision? Or has it been replaced by sniping?

    I really despair of politics these days. If only a third party were a serious option.

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