Over at ATC, Bill, X, and the gang have spent the better part of the day hyperventilating over whether or not Leonard Pitts, a Miami-based syndicated columnist, may have been hypocritical in a column about the death penalty. It seems that Pitts was critical of what he called the “cynical” use of relatives of murder victims to attack a Catholic politician who says his religious beliefs prevent him from fully embracing capital punishment (although he says he would still uphold the law). But a while back, Pitts praised Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, for using her “moral authority” to oppose the war.
My response. Who cares?
It’s clear to me that the bigger hypocrite today is our own U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison who went on the Sunday talk shows to test the waters on the Republican response to the pending indictments of top White House aides Karl Rove and Scooter Libby. Hutchison’s tact is to poo-poo the charges as “some perjury technicality” and implies the 2-year investigation has been a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Here is the full quote:
"... if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, 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."
Of course, Sen. Hutchison was not so dismissive of indictable crimes a few years ago when the target was President Bill Clinton:
"I do not hold the view of our Constitution that there must be an actual, indictable crime in order for an act of a public officer to be impeachable. It is clear to this Senator that there are, indeed, circumstances, short of a felony criminal offense, that would justify the removal of a public officer from office, including the President of the United States. Manifest injury to the Office of the President, to our Nation and to the American people and gross abuse of trust and of public office clearly can reach the level of intensity that would justify the impeachment and removal of a leader."
So to sum up, Sen. Hutchison believes that in the case of a Democratic administration you do not need actual indictment to justify the removal of a public official from office. Vague charges of “manifest injury” to the Office of the President and “gross abuse of trust” is more than enough reason to have an impeachment in that case.
But, for a Republican administration, suddenly an indictment alone is not enough to warrant dismissal. Now, it has to be an indictment for something that she considers to be a crime and not something that the prosecutor might consider a crime but which she dismisses as a technicality.
Sen. Hutchison's trial balloon over the weekend apparently got shot down because she is now backtracking on her "perjury is just a technicality and not a crime" theme.
Hutchison now says she was "misconstrued" and insists that perjury is a "terrible crime."
Welcome back to the reality-based world, Senator!