Conservatives often ask why so many Republicans go native when they get to Washington, D.C. The answer is: Because you don't defend them when they come under relentless attacks from liberal hatchet men.
Lewis Libby did what you wanted. He didn't place secret phone calls to reporters revealing classified intelligence programs. He supported the war on Islamic fascists. He didn't try to raise your taxes like James Baker III. And he has loyally served Dick Cheney, the man conservatives secretly wish were president.
And now he's on trial for -- at worst -- misremembering who first told him that future reality show contestant Joseph Wilson was sent on a boondoggle to Niger by his wife, Valerie Plame.
The way Libby remembered it, NBC's Tim Russert was the first one to tell him. But the way Russert remembers it, he didn't tell Libby about Wilson's wife. (And the way Wilson remembers it, he was sent to Niger by Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise.)
Try this: Who told you Wilson was sent to Niger by his wife? Who told you a bipartisan Senate panel concluded that Joe Wilson was lying when he denied that his wife had sent him to Niger? While we're at it, who was the first person to correct you on your pronunciation of "Niger"?
I don't remember, either -- and I'm not running a war.
The exact same people who are now demanding prison for Libby for not remembering who told him about Plame are the ones who told us it was perfectly plausible for Bill Clinton to forget that Monica Lewinsky repeatedly performed oral sex on him in the Oval Office. Even if chubby Jewish brunettes aren't your type, be honest: Which of the two events would stand out more in your memory?
Perjury is intentionally swearing to something you know to be untrue -- not misremembering what later appears, on balance, not to be the truth.
Here are some simple illustrations. If Clinton had been asked how many sexual encounters it took for him to remember Monica's name (six) and he got the answer wrong, it would not be perjury since, like Monica's name, it's an easy thing to forget.
If Clinton had been asked whether he talked to Rep. Jim Chapman and then to Rep. John Tanner, or to Rep. Tanner and then to Rep. Chapman while Monica was performing oral sex on him in the Oval Office and he got the answer wrong, that would not be perjury because it's not relevant to the investigation. (Correct answer: Chapman, then Tanner.)
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