No Criminals Need Apply

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In the latest chapter of the Rove/Plame/Wilson/Novak/Cooper/Miller affair, President Bush has promised to fire anyone in his administration who is found to have committed a crime. That's not quite the same as his earlier pledge to fire anyone responsible for the leak that spawned the investigation, but it at least establishes a bottomline standard of conduct for White House officials. MSNBC's gloss on the new Bush pledge is "President appears to qualify standard for firing in CIA-leak case," while Fox calls it a "reiteration" of the old pledge. (We report, you decide.)

Links via Josh Marshall, who asks, pertinently:

If you committed a crime during Iran-Contra, can you work in this administration? Or does the rule—presumably—only apply to felonies commited in the course of employment[?]

A couple of years ago in the National Post, Matt Welch wondered just what Iran-Contra felons were doing in the Bush administration.

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  1. The President going back on his word? Gasp!

    At least he’s not a flip-flopper like Kerry.

  2. I plead guilty to a DUI eight years ago and that thing still comes back to haunt me from time to time. Like, when I fill out a job application I hope it asks “have you been convicted of a felony?” because I can truthfully answer “no” to that. Then I see these felons at the top of the govt food chain and I wonder if my one-off crime spree was just not ambitious enough.

    Anyway, has anyone ever answered the question, what the hell was Rove doing with classified info on his hands in the first place? That guy’s job was to get 51% of the voting public to vote Bush back in, which he did (more or less). I see no reason for someone with that job description to have that sort of info. Does everyone in the White House get it? Isn’t it compartmentalized?

  3. Brian, Rove holds both a political and a policy portfolio. For obvious reasons, this has been extremely rare in American history. Apparently, Bush had such high regards for Rove’s character, that he felt confident putting him in an position so fraught with conflicts and temptationa.

  4. Taking his word literally, shouldn’t he start with firing himself? After all, the drunk driving guilty plea didn’t exactly go away just because he became, you know, born again, or something?

  5. ooh darn, I thought Joe coined a new word:
    temptanoia – a judicious mixture of temptation and paranoia, resulting in stupid cover-ups of stupid slip-ups.

    Spelling errors are an incredible source of inspiration.

  6. Since no one got a blowjob, the Iran-Contra matter wasn’t a real scandal in the first place and should never have been taken seriously.

  7. Got a cite for the “earlier pledge”? I’ve looked
    all over and can only find the “if they’ve committed a crime” version.

  8. Look, he never actually said Valerie Plame’s name.

    He said Alervay Ameplay.

  9. CORRECTION:

    Alerievay Ameplay

  10. “…but it at least establishes a bottomline standard of conduct for White House officials.”

    I can see why he’d want to do that. I mean, the President wouldn’t want to have to fire a staff member just ’cause he works as a “fluffer” or walks around the White House wearing nothin’ but cowboy boots or acts on a predilection for fucking donkeys.

    …Or maybe the President just figures he’ll be long out of office by the time Rove gets a trial.

  11. “but it at least establishes a bottomline standard of conduct for White House officials.”

    Horseshit! He’s just lying…again. There is no crime, no depravity, no act of any kind that can get someone fired from this administration. So long as Bush and Dick want your company, you’ve got job security.

  12. ooh darn, I thought Joe coined a new word:
    temptanoia – a judicious mixture of temptation and paranoia, resulting in stupid cover-ups of stupid slip-ups.

    I propose:

    Temptanoia- that frothy mix of temptation, paranoia, and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of screwing the public in the ass.

  13. dead elvis:
    eeeeeeewwwwwwww….. – but appropriate
    “Man, I just had lunch at the RNC. The walls were just dripping with temptanoia!”

  14. Hi, this site is all about HONEST JOE WILSON, REAL HONEST JOE WILSON. This post is awesome. My name is Robert and I can’t stop thinking about HONEST JOE WILSON. This guy is cool; and by cool, I mean totally sweet.

    Facts:
    1. HONEST JOE WILSON’s a Saudi stooge.
    2. HONEST JOE WILSON covers up secret terrorist plans ALL the time.
    3. The purpose of HONEST JOE WILSON is to flip out and kill people.

    Weapons and gear:
    HONEST JOE WILSON sack of cash from the Saudis
    HONEST JOE WILSON Secret Terrorist Plans
    HONEST JOE WILSON wife who’s a ciadoubletopsecretcovertclandestineoperativeagent

    Testimonial:
    HONEST JOE WILSON can kill anyone he wants! HONEST JOE WILSON tells everyone his wife is a CIA agent ALL the time and doesn’t even think twice about it. This guy is so crazy and awesome that he flips out ALL the time. I heard that HONEST JOE WILSON was eating at a diner. And when some dude dropped a spoon HONEST JOE WILSON killed the whole town. My friend Mark said that he saw HONEST JOE WILSON totally uppercut some kid just because the kid looked like Rove.

    And that’s what I call REAL Ultimate Power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If you don’t believe that HONEST JOE WILSON has REAL Ultimate Power you better get a life right now or he will chop your head off!!! It’s an easy choice, if you ask me.

    HONEST JOE WILSON is sooooooooooo sweet that I want to crap my pants. I can’t believe it sometimes, but I feel it inside my heart. This guy is totally awesome and that’s a fact. HONEST JOE WILSON is fast, smooth, cool, strong, powerful, and sweet. I can’t wait to start teasipping next year. I love HONEST JOE WILSON with all of my body (including my pee pee).

    Q and A:
    Q: Why is everyone so obsessed about HONEST JOE WILSON?
    A: HONEST JOE WILSON is the ultimate paradox. On the one hand he doesn’t give a crap, but on the other hand, HONEST JOE WILSON is very careful and precise.

    Q: I heard that HONEST JOE WILSON is always pompous or arrogant. What’s his problem?
    A: Whoever told you that is a total liar. Just like other useful idiots, HONEST JOE WILSON can be pompous AND arrogant.

    Q: What does HONEST JOE WILSON do when he’s not covering up terrorist plots or flipping out?
    A: Most of his free time is spent leaking to David Corn and Judy Miller, but sometimes he sips mint tea. (Ask Rove if you don’t believe me.)”

  15. Yes, but how does this impact the Kelo decision?

  16. Uh, quite frankly, ex-cons should feel most at home with a high-level gubmint job.

    “How could you let an ex-con work for the gubmint?” is sorta like saying, “how could you imprison a politician!?” Thin line, boys, thin line…

  17. Oh, come. Bush said he’d fire anyone convicted of a crime in the Plame case, not any run-of-the-mill felons.

  18. I really don’t care about HONEST JOE, Robert. …HONEST JOE isn’t the President of the United States. …It’s BULLSHIT GEORGE that I’m worried about.

    “So long as Bush and Dick want your company, you’ve got job security.”

    Do you really think it’s Bush’s call? …I mean, I’d be really surprised if Karl, Don and Dick didn’t just have meetings without ‘im after all these years. …I’m sure they send him a memo.

  19. What I want to know is, where does this leave poor Elliot Abrams?

  20. Y’know what would be nice? If people could get elected without a “political advisor” these days…

    Whether Rove completely blew it and is on his way to prison, or he managed to squeak through the tiny loophole in the law, is frankly irrelevant to me. His job is to smear people and lie, all this means is he’s done his job — a job which should not exist.

  21. Going by the excerpt that alkali posted, it looks to me like Bush also said that it was up to the U.S. Attorney to do any fact-finding that would result in such a firing.

    Now we can all rest comfortably, secure in the knowledge that a group of people who report to Alberto “it’s not torture when we do it” Gonzales will be in charge of the investigation…

  22. Evan Williams’ post reminds me of a letter to the editor yesterday about “duke” Cunnigham, the now-disgraced (got caught with his hand in the cookie jar) and resigning rep from San Diego, a city which is struggling with a pension deficit scandal.

    “Clearly there is a higher calling for Duke Cunnigham’s amazing financial wizardry. Why is a man who can sell a house for $700,000 more than it’s worth, negotiate free rent, flip a non-seaworthy barge for a $300,000 profit, etc., languishing in Congress? Put the Duke-stir in charge of the pension fund.”

    We need to put crooked politicians to work for *good* instead of evil.

  23. “but it at least establishes a bottomline standard of conduct for White House officials.”

    Could it be any lower, honestly?

    Not that this is surprising, we already know how scrupulous this President and his administration is.

  24. So criminals are ranked in the same category of unemployable as officials who relase accurate information to the public – Shinseki, O’Neil, the chief actuary in the Social Security Administration – completely unemployable.

    Well that’s a relief.

  25. First of all, aren’t political types by definition criminal? Presidential pardons are not a new thing …

    Secondly, the president has said several times something to the effect that it “makes him mad” when friends of his are verbally attacked or accused of doing something (re: Gonzales, but I think it applies across the board). It doesn’t seem to matter him whether or not the attack or accusation has merit or not, he just looks out for his peeps.

    It’s the same thing you see with corporate boards and CEOs looking out for one another with big Golden Parachute packages and so on. He comes out of that culture, so it’s not surprising he shows those traits.

    Bottome line, no matter how folks want to spin it: whether or not it was a crime, whether Plame was covert or not, etc.; the fact is that the Wilson’s wife was used in an attempt to discredit him, and that’s just a low-down, dirty political trick.

    It tells us all we need to know about the “values” of this administration.

  26. Commenting on the subject in 2003 the President enunciated the “convicted of a crime” standard.

    That seems like a pretty good one.

    OTOH if you hate Bush/Rove/Cheney a lesser standard (he did something that ought to be a crime) is quite appropriate. i.e. “I heard that too” is evidence of misconduct.

    Reminds me of the Clinton years. Just the shoes have exchanged feet.

  27. on Sept. 30, 2003. Story Continues Below “If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is,” the president told reporters back then. “And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.”

    Newsmax

  28. You should be ashamed of yourself. The facts have been out there for a long time, and have been all over blogdom for the last few days, at least:

    The President said: “if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.”

    It appears no law has been violated (Plame was not undercover, nor had been undercover for over five years), so leaking her name wasn’t a crime. (And it turns out, Rove didn’t initiate the conversation, nor push to out Plame in the first place.)

    Any other accusation is moving the goalposts in the face of the facts. I normally think of Reason as, well, reasonable, but you-all have been consistently wrong side of this one.

  29. It appears no law has been violated (Plame was not undercover, nor had been undercover for over five years), so leaking her name wasn’t a crime.

    I think one might want to wait for the grand jury to rule on that.

  30. Is it just me, or does that reporter Cooper guy look exactly like George Constanza? I keep expecting him to suddenly yell “SERENITY NOW!!” during an interview.

  31. The President said: “if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.”

    What does “taken care of” mean for this administration? Given the medal of freedom?

  32. To second M. Simon, shame on all you Cheney-haters who believe that wrongdoing short of a federal crime is inapporpriate for a high level White House employee.

    Shame, shame, shame.

  33. There was no controlling legal authority in this case.

  34. George Constanza rarely/if ever said “Serentity Now!!”, that was his father Frank and Kramer.

    What Constanza/Cooper might say–

    “Your’e making Matt Cooper very uncomfortable!!”

  35. Geez. Regardless of whether Karl commited a crime or what should be done with him, Bush has not shifted anything here. The quote’s above, and it clearly states that action (whatever the heck “taken care of” means) would be taken in the event someone actually violated the law. That’s what he said 2 years ago and that’s what he reiterated recently.

    Now, as far as the law goes, it seems to me that Rove is “innocent”, unfortunately. It doesn’t help that in 23 years, only one person have ever been convicted of this apparently very specific crime.

    Really, the only satisfactory resolution to this is to put Karl Rove and Joe Wilson in a steel cage and let them duke it out. We’ll record the winner for history’s sake and then kill him too just to make sure.

  36. Joe,
    Did you mean “Clinton haters?” Can’t follow.

  37. David W.,

    I don’t recall anyone claiming that Clinton’s behavior, either with Ms. Lewinsky or during his deposition, was appopriate.

    However, the right wing press is now full of people suggesting that Karl Rove is a noble whistleblower who deserves a medal for outing a CIA officer in his efforts to discredit Joe Wilson.

    Find me the quotes suggesting that Clinton be given a medal, would you?

  38. To second M. Simon, shame on all you Cheney-haters who believe that wrongdoing short of a federal crime is inapporpriate for a high level White House employee.

    Still don’t understand. In light of M Simon’s previous comment, “Clinton haters” makes more sense to me. Whatever you mean, I probably agree bcs I usually agree with you about this kind of stuf.

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