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Grand old failure


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Dan Post
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By Dan Post
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 28, 2005
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Stories of prominent Republican demises abound. The GOP leaders of both bodies of Congress stand accused of financial misbehavior. The onceproud White House is being taken to the woodshed amid repeated accusations of incompetence and cronyism and now over Harriet Miers' withdrawal. It makes me elated to finally see this justice play out against the people who have perpetuated injustices and lies on the American people for so long.

Yet it is extremely distressing to witness the lengths to which the elite Republican establishment has gone to employ damage control and to cover up their nowexposed scheming.

Nothing is being spun and covered up more than the details of the Valerie Plame leak investigation. In the process, a number of prominent Republican figures have showed themselves to be accomplished self-destructive flip-floppers in their own right.

In particular, the honorable Republican senator from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison, has consistently contradicted herself in an attempt to cover for her White House allies who are ensnared in the Plame ordeal.

On Sunday on "Meet the Press," Hutchison responded to a question by host Tim Russert about the involvement of White House higher-ups in the Plame case.

She attempted to delegitimize any indictments handed down in the case by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald. "An indictment of any kind is not a guilty verdict, and I do think we have in this country the right to go to court and have due process and be innocent until proven guilty."

Hutchison should remember her voting record on a number of issues before making such a broadly qualitative statement about her views on the civil rights of accused criminals.

In 1994 she asserted that prisoners could not argue racial bias as an adequate defense against receiving the death penalty. In 1996, Hutchison voted against giving prisoners sentenced to the death penalty additional chances to appeal. In 2001, she supported the federal Patriot Act, which strips the due process rights of people accused of terrorism, and also supported a bill liberalizing the government's ability to use invasive cell phone wiretapping. Where's the due process in that?

Later in the interview, Hutchison's take on the investigation became even more disturbing: "I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars."

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A perjury charge is good enough for Clinton, but not for Rove, Cheney or Libby?
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Hutchison went on to elaborate on this point even further, saying, "I also think we are seeing grand juries and U.S. attorneys and district attorneys that go for technicalities, sort of a 'gotcha' mentality in this country."

Along with her Republican friends, Hutchison herself had this "gotcha" mentality back in 1999, when she voted to impeach President Clinton. Hutchison viewed Clinton's attempt to cover up his "misbehavior" as obstructive perjury; she was one of 45 Republican senators to vote guilty on a perjury charge against Clinton, and was one of 50 Republican senators to vote guilty on an obstruction of justice charge against Clinton.

After her guilty votes, the Dallas Morning News quoted Hutchison as stating, "The principle of the rule of law - equality under the law and a clear standard for perjury and obstruction of justice - was the overriding issue in this impeachment."

A perjury charge is good enough for Clinton, but not for Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and Lewis Libby?

The contradictory nature of Hutchison's statements show a woman who will go to great lengths to protect her closest allies in politics, integrity and consistency aside.

But what she forgets - along with the other Republicans on this grand ol' sinking ship - is that there will be a price to pay at the polls next year and in 2008, when the consequences of their own flip-flopping politics and lack of integrity come to fruition.

Hutchison, once the most popular politician in Texas, is slipping fast: Her approval rating is down 10 points in just two months - a monumental drop synchronous with the fate of Republicans nationwide. Expect this trend to continue as the great demise of the right marches on.


Dan Post is a senior majoring in ecology and anthropology. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.



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