Rich Lowry

Fitzgerald let himself become an instrument of political blood lust. Bush critics wanted Libby destroyed because he stood for "the case for war." But Libby is an individual, not an abstraction. The way to score points against "the case for war" is through advocacy, not through jailing one person. Time magazine says that Libby's conviction is "a rebuke to (the) hermitic power-sharing arrangement at the top of the White House." Again, the way to object to Dick Cheney's power is through political agitation, not through imprisoning his former chief of staff.

This is the very definition of the criminalization of politics. If the other party occupies the White House, each side in our politics is willing to embrace this criminalization, even if it means doing violence to its own interests and principles.

The anti-Bush press cheered on Fitzgerald, but The New York Times says that it will sustain "the most collateral damage" from the case, since the verdict establishes a precedent for other far-reaching leak investigations. Liberals delighted in the case, but David Greenberg of The New Republic noted that they usually favor government leaks and oppose overzealous prosecutors. "We should remember," he wrote, "our vision of an open, liberal society." Oh yeah, that!

Fitzgerald says he's going to go back to Chicago and his day job as a U.S attorney. He should have gone long ago.

Rich Lowry

Rich Lowry is author of Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years .
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