1 comment March 13th, 2006at 04:02pm Posted by Eli

Wow. I admit I’ve only been paying passing attention to this Claude Allen refund fraud story, but I’ve been getting a healthy dose of knowledge from today’s White House Briefing column (All-Seeing Eye Of Froomkin be praised; blessed is his wisdom), and a variety of little tidbits jump out at me:

First, Froomkin himself points out the difference between the official White House reaction to Allen’s felony charges vs. their reaction to Libby’s – shock and embarrassment about Allen, expressions of support and admiration for Libby:

Spokesman Scott McClellan said Friday night that if the allegations against Allen are true, “no one would be more disappointed, shocked and outraged” than the president.


But it was starkly different than the response to Libby’s indictment. In that case, the White House didn’t express any misgivings whatsoever. There was no acknowledgement of how serious the charges were, or what it would mean if they were true. There was no expression of even hypothetical disappointment, shock or outrage. There was no suggestion that anyone in the White House might have been lied to. There were no regrets — except, of course, that Libby had to resign.

Here is the text of Bush’s remarks about Libby: “Scooter has worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people and sacrificed much in the service to this country. He served the Vice President and me through extraordinary times in our nation’s history.”


Now that the White House has demonstrated the ability to respond in the conventional way to criminal charges filed against a member of its senior staff, it becomes even more abundantly clear that in the Libby matter, it assertively chose not to do so.

The inescapable conclusion is that either Bush and Cheney think Libby’s innocent — or they don’t think what he’s accused of doing was in any way wrong.

Actually, scratch that. If they thought he was innocent, they could just say so. Nothing wrong with saying: We don’t think he did it, but let’s allow the legal system to do its job. So that leaves only option B: They don’t think that what Libby is accused of doing was wrong.

Froomkin probably could have taken this a step further and observed that A) Libby’s alleged wrongdoing was on the administration’s behalf, and B) Libby almost certainly has some potentially very embarrassing beans to spill on the culpability of other administration bigshots, so they have a vested interest in not pissing him off.

Onward! Also from the WaPo:

Allen is friends with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas: “The two would often go to lunch, sometimes talking about the burdens of being black conservatives. ‘He would always say to make sure I conducted myself appropriately,’ Allen recalled in an interview last year.”

How’s that workin’ out for ya, Claude?

And finally, from Newsweek, an inside look at the real White House staff reaction:

As one White House aide, who asked for anonymity to avoid embarrassing the administration, put it, “When you hear about a White House official getting busted, you’d hope it would be for something so much better than this, like securities fraud or embezzlement. But robbing a Target? Are you kidding me?”

Ahh, the Republican mindset in all its febrile glory – how dare Allen disgrace the Grand Old Party with such amateurish penny-ante schemes!

Entertaining as it is, I think this is similar to the Cheney-Shot-A-Guy-In-The-Face! story. In itself, it’s not a huge deal, largely because it’s not particularly damning of Bush or his policies, but it is revelatory about the fundamental Republican character. It’s yet another data point in the “Republicans are corrupt, arrogant, and unaccountable” narrative that the Democrats need to be pushing hard this year.

I would actually prefer something along the lines of “The GOP is the party of hypocrisy and moral rot,” but I guess that’s probably not sufficiently genteel…

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Favorites,Libby/Plame,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

1 Comment

  • 1. Jenn  |  March 14th, 2006 at 7:58 am

    I was so incredibly blown away by not only the fact that Allen was busted stealing so pettily, but that he’s tried to blame his twin brother for doing it. Yep. He was quoted as saying that his identical twin brother “may hold the key” to what is going on.

    I have reached outrage overload with this administration and it’s just damn exhausting.

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