Libby Likely, Rove Unclear

From the New York Times:

Lawyers in the C.I.A. leak case said Thursday that they expected I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, to be indicted on Friday, charged with making false statements to the grand jury.

Karl Rove, President Bush's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, will not be charged on Friday, but will remain under investigation, people briefed officially about the case said. As a result, they said, the special counsel in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, was likely to extend the term of the federal grand jury beyond its scheduled expiration on Friday.

The Wall Street Journal reports the same thing.

My prediction? After Libby resigns, Cheney will be pressured to take a fall. Why?

1) The sudden resurgence of damning articles and columns about legal intransigence and cabalistic behavior coming out of the Vice President's "Gestapo office."

2) The Cheney-as-werewolf meme, propagated by old-timey anti-war critic Brent Scowcroft:

"The real anomaly in the Administration is Cheney," Scowcroft said. "I consider Cheney a good friend -- I've known him for thirty years. But Dick Cheney I don't know anymore."

Which channels Colin Powell:

Powell detected a kind of fever in Cheney. He was not the steady, unemotional rock that he had witnessed a dozen years earlier during the run-up to the Gulf War. The vice president was beyond hell-bent for action against Hussein.

3) The new (to me) storyline of Bush finally losing patience with ol' Big Time, especially as reported by scooptastic Beltway insider Liz Smith:

[Only days ago], everyone was preoccupied with reporter Bob Woodward's theory that Vice President Dick Cheney would decide to run for president in 2008. (Mrs. Cheney denied this to Newsweek [sic] just this week.) But this week, the talkers and rumormongers are saying that regardless of the fate of Karl Rove or Scooter Libby (aides to the president and vice president respectively) -- it is Dick Cheney who will take the fall -- and resign from office over it.

The other part of the tale has the president and vice president very much "on the outs."

4) The aforementioned Woodward, who for some reason has been trying to scare people about the unlikely prospect of Cheney 2008 since May, has been giving increasingly ominous-sounding lectures about the "secret government":

The big worry that we should have about the country is not terrorism or hurricanes or Karl Rove or George Bush or whoever, the real thing that will bring us down as a country is secret government.

Hmmm, not Rove, not even Bush.... I wonder who exactly is running that dreaded, worse-than-the-threat-of-terrorism secret government? And before you dismiss Woodward's Cheney vs. Bush semantics as the wishful thinking of some damned MSMer, ask yourself how many recent Republican presidents have managed much of a second term after the old Naval Intelligence hand punished them for leaning too hard on the FBI and CIA?

Dumping the entire Fitzgerald mess on Libby's lap without splashing at least some of the dirt on Cheney seems improbable at best. The spook agencies -- a source of independent government power in their own right -- are smelling blood in the water. And an increasingly despised White House needs someone else to blame for all the other bummers coming home to roost. With the usual caveat that all my political predictions turn out wrong, here's two cents you can take to the bank: Cheney's a goner by 2006.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    here's two cents you can take to the bank: Cheney's a goner by 2006.

    Now, if only we could get rid of Rove and Bush too we might be getting somewhere. But who are we going to replace them with?

    Most everything I've heard about Rove indicates he's at least half monster. I wonder, has every administration had this kind of creature lurking in its ranks?

    btw, if the story is true, what's Cheney's beef wit Iraq? I could understand Bush Jr having this attitude, but Cheney?

  • ||

    If Cheney runs in 2008 the campaign will all be about his health. I'm not sure he will survive until 2008, let alone a presidency.

    I think Libby definitely. He might as well as signed a confession saying I DID IT. But I don't see him acting on his own, which implicates Dick Cheney. I can believe Karl Rove acting on his own, but Dick Cheney's chief of Staff? Come ON.

    The other two indictments? Bill Clinton, because what is a scandal without him, and Britney Spears, because, well, wouldn't you?

  • ||

    Scowcroft does not come off sounding very good if you read that article. Two fine examples:

    "We were having dinner just when Sharon said he was going to pull out of Gaza," at the end of 2003. "She said, 'At least there's some good news,' and I said, 'That's terrible news.' She said, 'What do you mean?' And I said that for Sharon this is not the first move, this is the last move. He's getting out of Gaza because he can't sustain eight thousand settlers with half his Army protecting them. Then, when he's out, he will have an Israel that he can control and a Palestinian state atomized enough that it can�t be a problem." Scowcroft added, "We had a terrible fight on that."

    They also argued about Iraq. "She says we're going to democratize Iraq, and I said, 'Condi, you're not going to democratize Iraq,' and she said, 'You know, you're just stuck in the old days,' and she comes back to this thing that we've tolerated an autocratic Middle East for fifty years and so on and so forth," he said. Then a barely perceptible note of satisfaction entered his voice, and he said, "But we've had fifty years of peace."

    So he'd rather have Israel and Palestine bogged down fighting over Gaza, and he considers the Iran-Iraq war, GW I, our short-lived occupation of Lebanon, and the Cole bombing "peace". Nice! At least he's one of the few folks willing to stand up and be honest about wanting friendly dictators abroad.

  • ||

    Harriet Miers for Vice President! You saw it here first, folks!

  • ||

    My bet is that Rove sang like a canary to the grand jury. He won't be indicted, but he will have a very difficult time working with other people in the White House after having disrupted day-to-day proceedings just to save his own ass.

    Libby will get indicted, as well as John Hannah (Cheney's National Security Advisor). Cheney, of course, will be saddled with much of the blame, and will start feeling the heat from fellow GOP members for his actions. GOP congresspersons will start distancing themselves from the White House for 2006, perhaps with some success.

    If Cheney really goes, then Bush has the opportunity to rework his whole administration from the ground up and prove Fitzgerald (F. Scott, that is) wrong by doing a second act. But its more likely that Cheney will try to hang on by any means necessary, and thrust the White House into a cold, dark, lonely three year hell.

  • ||

    For Scowcroft, war is peace.

  • ||

    So, if the other rumors are true and Cheney is getting increasingly pissed at Bush's behaviors re: Miers, etc, what are the odds that Cheney will decide he's too old to be putting up with this BS and sing like Ashcroft in a hackneyed hymn-writing contest? If I were as old and ill as he is, I certainly wouldn't waste my time by going out of my way to preserve any bridges.

  • ||

    Actually, I think blaming it all on the secret government is a good idea. Snake's been trying to take down those damn Patriots for years now. Are we sure George W's last name isn't really Sears?

  • ||

    Cheney resigns.
    Rice named VP.
    She runs in '08.

    It's an old story, the only thing changed is that Cheney's no longer resigning for "health issues."

  • ||

    JustinSane, I've been saying the same thing for more than a year now. All before the '04 election, I was offering wagers that sometime before 2007, Dick Cheney would be gone for one reason or another and Bush would appoint someone electable in '08. Everybody told me I was nuts.

  • ||

    Everybody told me I was nuts.

    Even paranoids have enemies.

  • ||

    At least bush41 was smart. He conned his way into being both DDO and DDI of the CIA. That's quite the feat.

    This bush can hardly make the CIA work, and has to rely on NYT reporters to get his story out. You can see how well THAT has worked out.

  • ||

    At least bush41 was smart. He conned his way into being both DDO and DDI of the CIA. That's quite the feat.

    This bush can hardly make the CIA work, and has to rely on NYT reporters to get his story out. You can see how well THAT has worked out.

  • ||

    "I wonder, has every administration had this kind of creature lurking in its ranks?"

    It would be a mistake to think it didn't. You don't get that far in politics without a whole cadre of monsters, whether the candidate is personally involved or remains willfully ignorant. It's a cutthroat enterprise, that selects for the most cutthroat people.

  • Jeff P.||

    Will there be a Hollywood Face-In-The-Crowd moment where Rove and Cheney scream at Bush "We made you!"?

  • ||

    Speaking of strategerizing by the Bush administration, Victor Davis Hanson apparently is advocating that Bush seize power and march his legions on Washington in his NRO article on why the president needs to cross the Rubicon. Okay, okay, Hanson doesn't actually say that in his article, but "crossing the Rubicon" is hardly an appropriate metaphor to use for a president.

    Actually, I don't agree with the real point of Hanson's article, either. He's advocating that Bush go on the offensive on a number of issues, which is well and good, but for a president that has been taking credibility hits on an almost weekly basis, I'm not sure getting feisty will do much more than alienate what's left of the base. There's 2006 and 2008 to worry about, after all. Only fighting the good fight with the next SCOTUS nominee is a win-win option for the president, I think.

    Alea iacta est.

  • ||

    just wait for the movie with philip seymour hoffman as karl rove! [:)]

  • ||

    The truth here is the entire administration has been cleared of "outing" a CIA operative.

    This is the same fucking bullshit they convicted Martha Stewart for. It was fucking bullshit then, and it's fucking bullshit now.

    It's not illegal for Dick Cheney to tell Scooter Libby that Valerie Plame works at CIA HQ.

  • David U||

    VD Hanson: But above all, the American people need to be reminded there was no oil, no hegemony, no money, no Israel, and no profit involved in this effort, but something far greater and more lasting.

    I.e., Halliburton.

  • ||

    Skipping the question of whether Halliburton is Damien's personal vehicle to Anti-Christ success--I tend to think it isn't--I do think Hanson tends to get dreamy eyed about our military actions in the Middle East. To be honest, I might have been a little more receptive to this war in the first place if the Administration had just said after 9/11, "We've had it, and we're going to go in and prop up a liberal government in the Middle East. Fuck it." Not necessarily my first solution to the problem, but at least I'd know for sure what the point of the war was. Right now, I'm not entirely sure, though I think the reason I gave hypothetically is the real reason.

    I have a question for the commentors and Reason staff. If Rice really were to take over the VP slot, what do you think of her as a potential president? Aside from her ability to shoot beams of white death energy from her eyes ala General Zod, of course.

  • ||

    Not sure a single black woman can get elected president. Plus she's brittle, cold, and an egghead. John Kerry-like "have a beer with" factor. The republicans are going to run another southern fundy empty suit, I'd say George Allen.

  • ||

    If this is what they've spent two years to come up with, I want my money back.

  • ||

    No, I meant that I wonder what people think about her as a potential president, not about her electibility. Honestly, I think we're all rather off when it comes to predicting who makes a good candidate. I think Mrs. Clinton will make a terrible candidate, for instance, but a lot of Democrats seem to think she's "The One". Who the heck knows? I still can't believe that Bush won the nomination the first time--no one with more experience and credibility out there? I ask that ironically, of course, because the Kerry nomination showed the same ineptitude on the other side of the aisle.

  • ||

    Well, she seems less insane than the rest of the administration. She might even be a closeted realist. Who knows what she thinks about domestic stuff.

  • ||

    "Cheney-as-werewolf"

    I actually thought Cheney's better performance was as the Phantom of the Opera... oh, wait, you mean Dick not Lon!

  • keith||

    My prediction? Nothing much happens to Cheney or Rove. Cheney remains VP, some congressmen bluster on CSPAN, and the Americna public pretends it cares for a week, then loses interest and lets Cheney/Rove/whoever else keep on truckin', same as they have for every foul deed and scandalous moment in this administration's history.

    I prefer the Cheney resigns scenario, but my guess is he'll just make one of those "I accept full responsibility" speeches that are so popular and have no repercussions attached to them, and that'll be that.

  • Peter K.||

    Michael Kinsley has the best summary of the entire "scandal" up to this point.
    http://www.slate.com/id/2128916/
    A taste:

    "Anyway, let's recap. Two and a half years ago, Robert Novak published the name of an undercover CIA agent in his column. He then joined Plame off-stage, where he has mysteriously remained ever since. Since he has known the answer all along, he may have been murdered to assure his silence. Although there is no evidence for this, it makes as much sense as any other explanation for his disappearance from the story line.

    Enter the liberal media establishment, led by the New York Times. First seen charging up a hill, demanding the appointment of a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of this outrage, it soon was charging back down the hill, complaining that the special prosecutor was asking journalists to finger the leaker. Who else would you ask?"

    My prediction is that the grand jury won't indict which would be hilarious.

  • ||

    Keith, I think your prediction is correct. One problem with this scandal for the media/Democrats is that it is eye-crossingly dull and complex. Who said what to which reporter and when. Easy enough to say "who gives a shit?"

    Anyway, as I've said before, we've only a few more months before the 2006/2008 speculation starts dominating the news. Democrats will mostly spend '06 and '07 clubbing each other, and Republican candidates will be running "post-Bush" campaigns.

  • ||

    Pointdexter and North all over again. The trial will be covered mercilessly on NPR, pre-empting Diane Rheme, thank god!, and then it's pardons for everyone!

    What's Rove's nickname, shit pimple or something like that. He'll be back, like a monster rising from the hoary depths.

  • ||

    Geez, people. Karl Rove is not a monster; he's an ethically challenged political operator, not exactly sui generis. What's the difference between Rove and Chris Lehane or Bob Strauss? Rove is competent. And Rove wouldn't be nearly so formidable in his powers if the current crop of Democrats didn't act as if they were all being advised by Lehane and/or Strauss.

    My worthless prediction is that if Libby is indicted, it will be under the False Statements Act, which would make Adam right - this is Martha bullshit, he's not getting indicted for doing something illegal, he's getting indicted for (maybe) not being truthful with the investigators.

    And I like Rice, and I think she'd at least stir up a Republican primary and she might even get nominated - I bet a lot of Republicans couldn't resist nominating an African American female, just to watch Democratic faces turn red and Democratic veins pop.

    Offtopic: go to the Drudge Report and check out the photo of the Exxon guy on the front page, under Oil Companies: Record Profits. Now THAT's how you publish an unflattering photo of your adversary. None of this candy ass devil ray stuff.

  • ||

    They will never get Rove, or Cheney. Neither one of them is dumb enough to get tricked into perjury, and that's all there is here.

    I don't buy the whole Rice as VP conspiracy, since it wouldn't really help her. Especially since she isn't going to run. It's all immaterial anyway, since the next president is going to be Barack Obama.

  • ||

    Not sure a single black woman can get elected president. Plus she's brittle, cold, and an egghead. John Kerry-like "have a beer with" factor.

    It'll be funny to see some Democrats switch gears to attack her on the "too smart, not Oprah" angle, though.

  • keith||

    This would all be so much better if Karl Rove always wore a black cloak, a black stovepipe hat, and always twiddled the curled tips of his thin handlebar moustache.

    At the very least, I wish he'd start appearing and disappearing accompanied by a sudden explosion of smoke.

  • ||

    "It'll be funny to see some Democrats switch gears to attack her on the 'too smart, not Oprah' angle, though."

    They wouldn't have to attack her. The Republican support for her running right now seems to have a heavy, "Hee, hee! Wouldn't it really screw up the Democrats if we ran a Black woman candidate!" tone to it, not that she has the "correct" views. She almost certainly wouldn't even survive to Super Tuesday unless she suddenly becomes "born again" and begins talking non-stop about banning abortion.

  • ||

    My prediction? After Libby resigns, Cheney will be pressured to take a fall. Why?

    ...

    And an increasingly despised White House needs someone else to blame for all the other bummers coming home to roost. With the usual caveat that all my political predictions turn out wrong, here's two cents you can take to the bank: Cheney's a goner by 2006.

    If you want to predict the behavior of a bunch of cronies, you have to think like a bunch of cronies...

    When have you seen an incompetent leader with the character flaws President Bush has and who's made the personnel mistakes President Bush has, throw one of his own to the wolves?

    ...With the White House in turmoil, more than ever, the President needs to be surrounded by people he trusts. ...and I'm not talkin' about trust as you and I probably think of the word, as in I trust someone to get something done. ...I'm talkin' about Bush trust--the kind that knows someone is going to be on your side regardless of whether you're right or wrong.

    Chaney is one of the people the President trusts. ...and he'll be there for the duration.

  • ||

    So he'd rather have Israel and Palestine bogged down fighting over Gaza, and he considers the Iran-Iraq war, GW I, our short-lived occupation of Lebanon, and the Cole bombing "peace". Nice! At least he's one of the few folks willing to stand up and be honest about wanting friendly dictators abroad.

    Yes, and the 50 years he's talking about seems to go back to the 1953 coup we supported against the democratically elected leader of Iran...we've discussed that statement in another thread.

    ...and I remain unpersuaded by twice removed rejoinders against his use of the word peace in this context. ...juxtaposed against the idea of the United States sending troops to topple dictatorships in Egypyt, Saudi Arabia and Iraq--which seems to be what Condi was referring to--the prior 50 years were "peace".

    And I don't see anything he said here which even mildly suggests that he wants friendly dictators abroad. ...I suspect he wants what's best for the United States out of Middle East policy considering the hand we were dealt.

  • ||

    Tom, I can't parse your second sentence, but Egypt and Saudi Arabia aren't mentioned in Scowcroft's recounting.

    Also, your first sentence contradicts your third.

  • gaius marius||

    They will never get Rove, or Cheney. Neither one of them is dumb enough to get tricked into perjury, and that's all there is here.

    i think they will get at least rove on espionage. underreported so far seems to be the fact that fitzgerald expanded his probe with an eye toward crucifying karl rove with bigger charges than libby got. it's recently seemed to some that libby had turned state's evidence in return for lighter charges. the lack of an espionage act charge for him may reflect that.

  • gaius marius||

    Speaking of strategerizing by the Bush administration, Victor Davis Hanson apparently is advocating that Bush seize power and march his legions on Washington in his NRO article on why the president needs to cross the Rubicon. Okay, okay, Hanson doesn't actually say that in his article, but "crossing the Rubicon" is hardly an appropriate metaphor to use for a president.

    but it does go straight to the heart of the rapidly collapsing political dialogue in this country. rags like nro have quietly become revolutionary pamphlets in the last few years. not even sure the readership understands that, but from my perspective you don't have to read nro for long to understand that they will find acceptable nothing less than total one-party-one-man domination.

  • ||

    gaius, if Bush is Caesar (somehow, I must chuckle as I type that), then who is Clodius? Pompey? Cato? Cicero? Vercingetorix? Antonius? I need answers in order to properly analogize the situation.

    Seriously, I, too, am a bit offended by the militarism and authoritarianism that pops out from some commentators on the right. I think the Cold War really screwed up some thinking on why we have a military and what is the appropriate use of force (I get supporting the invasion of Afghanistan, not so much blindly endorsing the Iraq war).

  • ||

    Tom, I can't parse your second sentence, but Egypt and Saudi Arabia aren't mentioned in Scowcroft's recounting.

    My point is that we're talking about an isolated comment--twice removed--taken from a discussion in a wider context.

    Let's look at the statement again...

    "They also argued about Iraq. "She says we're going to democratize Iraq, and I said, 'Condi, you're not going to democratize Iraq,' and she said, 'You know, you're just stuck in the old days,' and she comes back to this thing that we've tolerated an autocratic Middle East for fifty years and so on and so forth," he said. Then a barely perceptible note of satisfaction entered his voice, and he said, "But we've had fifty years of peace."

    ...is there any dispute about the "old days" being during the Cold War? ...is there any dispute that 50 years prior--and the discussion in question took place in 2003--just happened to coincide with our decision to back the coup that overthrew the democratically elected leader of Iran? ...that our policies supported other dictatorships--most notably Egypt and Saudi Arabia--in the Middle East since then?

    Is there any dispute but that the support of Saddam Hussein and the governments of Saudi Arabia and Egypt were exactly what Condi was referring to in this context? If that wasn't so, then what was Condi referring to as the "old ways", may I ask?

    Also, your first sentence contradicts your third.

    Maybe I'm counting sentences wrong... ...Can you be more specific?

  • ||

    I'm not disputing that the US supported (to greater or lesser extents) dictatorships throughout the Mideast. I'm saying that Scowcroft considers that a worthwhile price for what he calls, wrongly, "peace".

    Third sentence: "And I don't see anything he said here which even mildly suggests that he wants friendly dictators abroad."

    contradicted by: "the 50 years he's talking about
    [with "satisfaction", per the interview - CTD] seems to go back to the 1953 coup we supported against the democratically elected leader of Iran"

    Besides inverting the logic, you use too many ellipses where they aren't necessary. That may be the cause of your counting troubles.

  • ||

    I'm not disputing that the US supported (to greater or lesser extents) dictatorships throughout the Mideast. I'm saying that Scowcroft considers that a worthwhile price for what he calls, wrongly, "peace".

    I confess. ...it's unclear to me that what we've won in Iraq is worth the price we've paid.

    ...and saying that Scowcroft considers foreign dictatorships a worthwhile price for peace isn't the same as saying that he wants those dictatorships to be there, just the way they are.

    I don't want a war with North Korea. ...That doesn't mean I want a dictatorship in North Korea.

    Third sentence: "And I don't see anything he said here which even mildly suggests that he wants friendly dictators abroad."

    The emphasis was on the word "wants." ...you seem to have ignored that.

    contradicted by: "the 50 years he's talking about[with "satisfaction", per the interview - CTD] seems to go back to the 1953 coup we supported against the democratically elected leader of Iran"

    Regarding "satisfaction", we did win the Cold War, you know. Whether we would have won the way we did without following policies similar to what we did in Iran--everywhere from Central and South America to Africa and elsewhere--is a legitimate topic for debate. ...My read is that Scowcroft feels like his proof is in the pudding and that it's painfully obvious. I don't think he felt satisfaction at having toppled a democratically elected government; I think he felt satisfaction at having won the argument.

    Yes, we had full out war in Vietnam. We've had operations in Grenada, Panama, etc. ...But there was little in the way of fully committed, nationwide open conflict with the Soviets, and we didn't have much in the way of conflict in the Middle East either.

    ...We lost Marines in Lebanon--that wasn't an open war. ...not for the United States anyway.

    I know he used the word "peace" there, and I know I'm interpreting that as meaning something other than total war--but, as I said, I think this conversation took place in a wider context. ...and I think that's what he meant.

    Back then, if he had felt that we--and please note that by we, I mean the United States--would win best by backing popular but strategically undesirable governments, I think he would have wanted that.

    ...Once again, wanting a dictatorship and advocating a policy that you think best for the United States are entirely different things.

    Besides inverting the logic, you use too many ellipses where they aren't necessary.

    That's redundant.

    That may be the cause of your counting troubles.

    ...That isn't the cause of my counting troubles! ...that's my tribute to Celine! ; )

  • ||

    I think he's talking about the Mideast, not the Cold War overall, but short of asking him or the interviewer...

    And I dig Celine...

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement