If you are speeding along in your car and you notice a red light in your rear view mirror, what is the best way to minimize the potential damage? Do you pull over and politely admit to the officer that you may have been driving a bit too fast, and make a sincere apology while committing to be more careful in the future? Do you pull over and deny that you were speeding and assume that you were just unfortunate to get caught? Or do you step on the gas because you think you are so effective at speeding that you will get away and avoid any repercussions?
In the face of a Bush administration being investigated for the reckless smearing of a political opponent, the current Republican Party appears to be choosing the equivalent of this third option, as they try to minimize the political fallout from possible indictments in the CIA leak investigations. As the Grand Jury approaches its conclusion, Republican operatives are already beginning a massive effort to attack the motives of Patrick Fitzgerald, the reasonableness of his findings, and the reasons for the investigation in the first place.
“He’s a prosecutor run amok, who has expanded beyond the scope of his investigative powers!”
“Any indictments will be on technicalities or misunderstandings, not the actual breaking of any laws!”
“Oh and by the way, Joseph Wilson is a liar, who has smoked pot, and whose wife is mentally ill, and whose swift boat members think he looks French!”
OK. Stop. You win! I’m completely convinced that the Republicans would never do anything to harm someone just because he or she disagrees with them! How silly of me to think so!
Watching this little drama unfold, I can’t help but think about how this current group of Republicans just doesn’t get it. Unlike “Watergate,” when the sheer stupidity of the break-in and subsequent cover up led both parties to insist on investigations that drove out a corrupt administration, these Republicans are going to stick with Bush to the end, fueling a fire that will burn the party to the ground, and then keep scorching the earth beneath them for so long that nothing will ever come back!
After “Watergate,” the Republican party was able to regroup and regain the White House for 16 of the next 28 years. When it's all said and done, these guys are going to cling to the same stupid smear strategy (the only one they seem to know) and be left with so little credibility that for the next couple of decades, they will be lucky to control a prison library!