Peretz on Plame

PERETZ ON PLAME….I suppose if there were a competition for worst professional analysis of the Plame scandal and the Scooter Libby commutation, Marty Peretz’s contribution would have to be the leading contender.

It was from the beginning a politically motivated case, as Dershowitz argues in this morning’s Post, the appointment of the special prosecutor, the prosecutor’s own obsessions, the case itself with the doubtful and understandably doubtful but diverse memories of many witnesses, including the defendant, the especially harsh sentence pronounced by the judge, the refusal of the appellate court to continue Libby on bail — all of these were politically motivated. And, thus, in and of themselves, unjust.

I haven’t the foggiest idea what any of this means. Libby was charged by a prosecutor appointed by a Republican administration, a criminal sentence was issued by a judge appointed by a Republican president, and Libby’s appeal was heard by two more judges appointed by Republican presidents. The sentence was well within the guidelines of a Republican president’s Justice Department. They’re all in on some kind of partisan political scheme to undermine Bush? How? Why?

As Sullivan put it:

This is an argument? Marty does not provide a scintilla of evidence that any of these things was “politically motivated”. Not one. How was John Ashcroft’s appointment of a special prosecutor politically motivated? What exactly are Patrick Fitzgerald’s unnamed “obsessions”? How is the sentence out of line with usual standards endorsed by the Bush Justice Department? How does Marty know that faulty memory as oposed to lying is why the jury convicted Libby of perjury? He knows none of these things. So he just repeats his assertions loudly, as if volume is a substitute for reason. It isn’t.

I suppose there might be a less compelling argument than Peretz’s out there, but I haven’t seen it. I open the floor to nominations.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.