Carol Platt Liebau: The Heighth of Hypocrisy

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Heighth of Hypocrisy

Former presidential counselor Beth Nolan shows some crust in asserting that the White House is carrying the concept of executive privilege too far by refusing to allow White House advisors to be put under oath in a show trial atmosphere so that Democratic senators can conduct a fishing expedition.

First, it's worth pointing out that Nolan worked for an Administration that the courts found claimed executive privilege illegitimately in order to shield the President from a legitimate independent counsel investigation of the President's own sex scandal. Here, in contrast, President Bush and his administration aren't looking to shield themselves from the consequences of behavior outside the scope of their official duties.

Second, Nolan's piece is profoundly misleading. She writes:

When Congress has already received information and testimony that raises serious questions about possible wrongdoing, the White House counsel's offer -- a closed-door session that may not be recorded, even by a transcript, and on the condition that Congress has only one bite at the apple, no matter what it may subsequently learn -- is simply inadequate.

Needless to say, politics dictates that if the Congress found something dramatic in the closed-door testimony, it would definitely get more than "one bite at the apple." That proviso is put in to guarantee that Democrats can't simply prevent Karl Rove from doing his job by tying him up constantly in congressional meetings. What's more, why should the Democrats determine that the offer is "inadequate" if they haven't tried it -- and they're sincerely interested in just getting the facts?

Nolan likewise misleads by suggesting that there are fewer grounds for claiming executive privilege on behalf of advisors who have already left the White House:

Out of respect for the separation of powers, Congress should not ordinarily call on such officials for testimony but should leave such officials to devote their attention to their duties for the president. This rationale no longer has force for those who have left the White House, such as Harriet Miers . . .

That's simply disingenuous. The primary rationale for executive privilege for presidential advisors is to allow them to be able to offer advice to the President without worrying about subsequently being hauled before Congress under oath. Where they are working at the time they are called for such testimony is irrelevant -- as Nolan surely knows, as the Clinton Administration made this argument frequently.

She winds up with this:

When I was counsel to the president, we were deluged with subpoenas, many of which were issued unilaterally by a committee chair and served on us without even the courtesy of a phone call first. So much for respecting a co-equal branch or engaging in a process of accommodation.

So what? The Clinton Administration rarely attempted to "engag[e] in a process of accommodation" like the one President Bush tried futilely to initiate. From Whitewater on, it was "batten down the hatches" -- and all of us can recall the "take no prisoners" siege mentality that the Clinton Administration adopted.

Funny: Nolan thinks that when Democrats were on the end of Republican subpoenas, Congress was unreasonable. Now that the shoe is on the other foot -- and without any evidence to substantiate the highly inflammatory allegations, while emails and other correspondence have backed up the Administration's account -- it's the executive branch that's being unreasonable.


Blogger One Salient Oversight said...

Why did Alberto Gonzales choose to lie under oath Carol?

Under oath he said he had nothing to do with the firings of the 8 USAs.

Now it comes out that he was deeply involved in it.

Why did he lie?

7:52 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

Carol, Dems can do no wrong. GOP can do no right. Dems believe that Clinton was right and Bush is wrong. Dems also believe that pigs fly and the world is flat.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

One Salient Oversight said... "Now it comes out that he was deeply involved in it.' Please explain, what is,"it?" There was no crime here, just another manufactured,
"scandal of the week" that the dems cooked up. It won't be too much longer before the voting public is going to get real tired of these dem games and regret the whole dem party. Believe me, payback is coming in '08!

10:38 AM  
Blogger One Salient Oversight said...


A classic piece of right wing psychological projection there.

In psychology, psychological projection (or projection bias) is a defense mechanism in which one attributes ("projects") to others, one’s own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts or/and emotions. Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted subconscious impulses/desires without letting the ego recognize them.

In summary, let me rephrase what you said to expose the truth:

GOP can do no wrong. Dems can do no right. GOP believe that Bush was right and Clinton is wrong. GOP also believe that pigs fly and the world is flat.

Hurricane Katrina aftermath - were the Dems responsible for the suffering that went on?

9/11 - Did the Dems ignore warnings from officials that Osama Bin Laden was planning an attack?

Iraq War - Were the Dems responsible for taking away all those pesky WMDs and starting a civil war that has killed over 650,000 Iraqis?

Plamegate - Was it a Democratic member of the White House that lied under oath?

Attorneygate - Was it a Democratic appointed Attorney General that has lied under oath?

Global Warming - Was it the Democratic party that has been responsible for preventing scientific opinion from being reported?

These are the facts Stackja. They're available from formal investigations by congress and reported publically.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

One Salient Oversight, you didn't answer my question above. Do you have an answer, or do you spout off
without facts or reason?

7:04 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...


In summary, let me answer your ludicrous questions.

Katrina aftermath-yes, it was the Dems who were responsible for the suffering. From the governor of the state, to the mayor of NO, Dems have put that area in the position it was when the danger was warned of for decades. What did they do to prepare the area for the potential that finally came true? What did they do to lift the impoverished to higher standards of living, thereby giving themselves the means to extricate themselves when the mayor held back the buses? Don't blame outsiders for the failures of the state's own leaders.

9/11-Are you seriously trying to say that the Bush admin had the details necessary to prevent this attack? What fantasy!

Iraq war-You guys can hang your hats on the notion that not enough WMDs were found, but the jury's still out on that one. No matter. It constituted ONE reason we went, and it was a reason even Bill Clinton feared during his admin, along with Kerry, Dean, and others. As for the civil war, it's more like a gang war taking place in basically three of the many provinces. Most are relatively peaceful. But I guess for libs, it's better to let a despot murder his people at will, than to liberate them and have some die for a purpose higher than Uday and his bro pleasuring themselves. As to 650K, that's also in dispute, but libs don't care about accuracy if it helps their argument.

Plamegate-I don't know if Armitage is a Rep or Dem, but his was a lie of omission. Libby, on the other hand, wasn't under oath and he wasn't tried for such. He was accused of lying to an investigator so the charge was obstruction. And despite the verdict, his lack of recollection was somehow held as a lie, while others, like Tim Russert, were believed when they said THEY couldn't recall. Yeah, that's fair.

Attorneygate-A figment of malevolent Dem minds. No such crime has been determined, only hoped for by Dems.

Global warming-Yes. AlGore and other libs are silencing and demonizing anyone who contradicts the new religion of global warming. Funding has been withheld from scientists and researchers who haven't bought into the alarmist blatherings.

You need to see more than what you want to see before you start talking about what might be facts.

9:19 PM  

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