Poor Scooter, a Political Side Note

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.


January said…
Not that I expected anything different, but did you notice that there were no letters of support from Bush and Cheney?

(Love the photo of the scooter.)
jim said…
From their public statements, it appears both the President and Vice President were just too "saddened" about the whole affair to write on Libby's behalf.

I don't mean to sound so cynical, but it's so obvious that Libby's defense strategy is simply to stall the system with appeals until after the election and await a presidential pardon (of course, his attorneys are being quite skillful and zealous, which is what they are paid for). I'll be surprised if Libby actually spends one night in jail.

What I love is how all the "law and order" Republicans have expressed their willingness to pardon Libby--Giuliani, I'm sure, when he was a prosecutor would go all soft and understanding and forgiving regarding individuals who purposely obstructed his criminal investigations.
paris parfait said…
I'm so glad you posted this - hadn't heard of Matalin's ridiculous letter. I'm surprised Carville signed it, but then he is married to her. And I'm with January - no support from Rove or Cheney? They should be kissing his feet for taking the fall. Sigh.