I don't know what's worse for Scooter Libby: the 30-month sentence Judge Reggie Walton meted out for obstruction of justice or the hopelessly banal and cliche-ridden letters of support on his behalf. Please shoot me if I have to rely on bland, generic testimonials from Donald Rumsfeld, or worse, gushingly icky letters of support from Mary Matalin.
Matalin's writing was an especially interesting piece of work (co-signed by James Carville), in what amounted to a defense of Scooter because he was good with kids. She notes how over one Halloween, locked away in an undisclosed location with Vice President Cheney (now, that is scary), it was Scooter who put together a makeshift Halloween party for the children. Okay, I like the neo-cons marginally better than your typical right-wing social conservative because they will drink and they will enjoy a good pagan holiday such as Halloween. But Matalin goes on to talk about what a "heartbreaking" event it had been up to that moment. Heartbreaking?
I can imagine Judge Walton reading this note, seeing how it might mitigate the fact that Scooter lied without remorse, relentlessly to investigators. That Scooter heroically sugared up his own kids surely must account for something.
But let me quote Matalin's letter:
On the many other occasions the children were forced to accompany Scooter and I [sic] on location with the Vice President, Scooter always arranged to have our work and schedules revolve around the kids. He always planned ahead and discovered the most fun and interesting activities for all of them. To this day, whenever I talk to my girls about attending any White House event, they always ask, "Is Mr. Scooter going to be there?"
My lifelong view, which has only been validated in adulthood, is that kids are the most honest and true evaluators of people. Watching my children with Scooter, and all children with him, you'd think he hung the moon.
This is touching in that Matalin is no doubt being quite sincere here in her praise of Libby as a gentle soul among children--that is praiseworthy indeed. But the argument here is appalling. Give Scooter a break because he's good with kids? Why wasn't he thinking about his kids (let alone the Constitution) when he was blowing smoke before the investigators?
Besides, Matalin then tosses out the facile and empty-headed (and irrelevant) idea regarding children being the most honest and true evaluators of people. Children don't fib to protect a loved one? Children can't be fooled by the kindness of a stranger? I understand what Matalin is trying to say about children here, but it's so patently and selectively contrived that it's a clear manipulation for sympathy and nothing more. In short, it strikes me as an especially ugly ploy to use one's children in this way.
So my friends, for whatever sentences are administered to me, please leave your children at peace, at home, unmentioned, in whatever statements you say on my behalf. Better yet, I would rather have you be silent--I'd much rather have your praise when I have done well. When I have done ill, I'd rather not have your testimonials, as they would be too painful to hear. And I would not use them so, just to get off the hook, as if that would work.