"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Friday, July 22, 2005

Don't Plame Me 

While I hope that you will make allowances should I backslide like a recovering drunk on a lonely, dreary Sunday morning, it is my intention to make this site a "Plame-fee zone" for a while. No one is more surprised than I by this intention; it is no exaggeration to say that it was the outrage of Valerie Plame's outing, more than any of the countless other outrages readily at hand, which led me to start writing here, a year and a half ago. An administration that would sink this low - that would compromise national security for short-term political gain, in a manner that might well cost lives - simply had to be opposed by any means necessary.

But now I have nothing to say on the subject.

This is in part because others are doing it better than I could. Look at nearly any blog listed to your left (my right) - the Whiskey Bar, Talking Points Memo, and Hullabaloo are among my favorites right now - and you will find some outstanding writing on the topic. Also, the corporate press is doing a better job than I think anyone imagined, and better late than never. Two years ago, one year ago, even six months ago, a reader needed a divining rod and an electron microscope to find a traditional news outlet covering this story, but now there is good reporting everywhere. For example, I just got around to reading this week's Newsweek (I told you that I was crushed at work this week!), and found several outstanding reports - in fact, I seriously considered entitling this post "Who Are You ... And What Have You Done With Howie the Whore?"

But, ultimately, my decision to leave the story alone for a while springs from my understanding that it no longer matters in the same way it once did.

The whole thing is out of our hands. Patrick Fitzgerald has turned out to be a tenacious little cuss, and he's large and in charge. It's his party now. By the time the grand jury dissolves in October, either indictments will issue or they will not. If they do, then the game rises to a whole new level - the flying monkeys will find themselves playing defense, which is not their strength. Now-secret documents and testimony will be revealed, and the rampant speculation which so many of us enjoy so much will become obviously pointless. There will be much to discuss at the time, and I will certainly want to join the chorus.

On the other hand, if there are no indictments, then - once again - the dynamic will shift. A lack of indictments might indicate that, no matter how sleazy Rove & co. may be, they managed somehow to avoid actual outright criminality; or, alternatively, it may mean that Fitzgerald turned out to be a partisan hack after all (from this vantage, that possibility seems unlikely - but it is possible). Either way, the tone and substance of the story will change in ways we cannot presently imagine. While we wait for the other boot to drop, speculation is lots of fun but, essentially, a waste of time.

So let's leave it at this: There is time enough to revisit the affair of Joe and Valerie Wilson, but that time (for me) is not now. There are other suckfish to fry.




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