Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Foot in Mouth Disease

There seems to be an epidemic of this horrible affliction sweeping the political world recently. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas is one of the latest victims, and her symptoms are acute. Here's what she said on "Meet the Press" this weekend about possible charges in the Plame Name Game case:

"I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment . . . that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. So they go to something that trips someone up because they said something in the first grand jury and then maybe they found new information or they forgot something and they tried to correct that in a second grand jury

I think we should be very careful here, especially as we are dealing with something very public and people's lives in the public arena."

Mmm-kay. So we're sure you've always felt this way, that perjury's just a "technicality," right? Just a way to "trip someone up"? Well, not so much. Here's the good senator at a news conference from February 5, 1999:

"I do think ... that something needs to be said that is a clear message that our rule of law is intact and the standards for perjury and obstruction of justice are not gray. And I think it is most important that we make that statement and that it be on the record for history.

I very much worry that with the evidence that we have seen that grand juries across America are going to start asking questions about what is obstruction of justice, what is perjury. And I don't want there to be any lessening of the standard. Because our system of criminal justice depends on people telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

There's no antidote yet developed for this horrible disease, but Senator Hutchison will get the first dose when it's available.

In all seriousness though, if more Republicans come out after an indictment for perjury (if one is brought) and start making this kind of argument the entire country ought to just laugh in their faces. Those who break the law - I don't care what law it is, perjury or murder - should be held to the highest standard of accountability under our legal system, and no one ought to laugh off charges as "technicalities."


At 12:32 PM, Blogger pacatrue said...

One can't help but think of the Clinton impeachment proceedings in all this discussion of perjury technicalities.


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