Monday, October 24, 2005

Washington Waits

The indictments in the Judith Miller/Valerie Plame leak case, such as they may be, will be issued from Patrick Fitzgerald's office this week; the grand jury disbands on the 28th and Fitzgerald will wait until mid-week for maximum press coverage and a strong tie in to the Sunday morning pundits. It is the way Washington works.

Their scope will determine what Bush will be able to accomplish in the remainder of his second term. One can argue the merits of Fitzgerald's case but in the end, as always, it is perception that counts more than any notion of objective reality. Not helping matters for the White House are the concurrent investigations of the former House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay, and the Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

I have avoided speculation about who may be indicted because it is irresponsible and I am not privy to anything that would inform an intelligent opinion. It is safe to say however, that no indictments against key persons in the White House is a vindication, an indictment of Libby alone is a real problem, and indictments of both Rove and Libby is a disaster.

Thus far Fitzgerald has kept his cards close to his vest and has avoided the appearance of politicizing the process; after the indictments are handed down all hell will break loose. For the Democrats it will be payback time for the investigations of Bill Clinton and I anticipate Howard Dean and others to use the indictments in fundraising efforts, candidate recruitment, earned media, etc. Were the shoe on the other foot Republicans would do no less. There will be an immediate call for impeachment hearings and my bet is that John Conyers, the embarrassment from Michigan, will make this request.

Second term presidencies have almost universally been difficult, one only need note Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, and the breadth of Fitzgerald's indictments may well determine the agenda of George W. Bush's next three years in office. More to come...


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