(By THERSITES) UPDATES AT BOTTOM
Smoking gun right here.
My grandmother taught me to live in such a way that at the end of my life, I would have no regrets. Sadnesses, maybe, but not regrets, as in, "I wish I had done the brave thing instead of the easy one."
I hope the majority of Senate Democrats have huge regrets today, because this news, while good, will not have the effect of toppling the imperial Presidency, and the Senate Democrats' regrettable cowardice is the cause.
If the Senate Democrats had been vigorously attacking Bush on the NSA issue, and Bush was responding (as he has in the past) by claiming that secrecy is vital to protecting the national security and that that's why he resisted oversight, then this news could have been his undoing; when a President who claims immunity from oversight is, himself, leaking classified information to reporters for political gain, talk of impeachment would be unavoidable.
James Carville is attributed as saying, "When your enemy is drowning, throw him an anvil." But if your enemy isn't drowning, throwing him an anvil won't be fatal. If the Senate Democrats had been pushing hard on censure, then Bush might have been drowning, and this revelation could have been the anvil that sunk him for good. But the Senate Dems have been coasting on the NSA issue, and Bush isn't drowning yet, and he may well survive this revelation, which should be his undoing.
I said, early on, that the greatest benefit of censure is that while it is a relatively mild rebuke, it is also a rock-solid foundation for commencing impeachment proceedings if the President continues to do wrong, or new wrongdoing comes to light. We gave him one strike, we could say; we bent over backward; but he cannot be taught, he will not accept correction, and so now, with great regret, we must see him removed. It would be a nice argument.
Or, to use a baseball analogy: Bush's low poll numbers, coupled with vigorous censure proceedings, could be strikes one and two, with this newest outrage being the third strike -- batter out, side retired. Instead, due to the Cowardly Donkeys, there's only one strike against Bush (low poll numbers), and this revelation -- which should have made the out -- will merely be Strike Two.
It may not be too late, if the Senate Democrats get the censure bandwagon rolling in a hurry. The Senate Judiciary Committee meets again tomorrow (Friday) on censure. Call the Democratic senators on that committee (they're in the right-hand column) and demand that they throw Bush the anvil he so sorely deserves. The Senate switchboard's toll-free number is 888-355-3588.
(1) Check out the first comment for a link to the legal filing that explains who told what to whom, and excerpts. Keep in mind that this was disclosed as part of legal wrangling over what classified docs Libby's lawyers are entitled to receive in discovery; Libby says the National Intelligence Estimate was "declassified" by dint of the President OKing a leak, and the prosecutors disagree.
(2) Good analysis of the legal documents and issues here.
(3) Bush quotes, promising that anyone who leaked classified info would not remain in administration, and claiming that he personally sets high standards he expects everyone else to adhere to, here. I'm waiting for his resignation...
(4) More good analysis and discussion here and here.
LINKS RESOURCE TO THE BEST ANALYSIS IN NEW POST, HERE
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