When former FBI agent Mark Felt was revealed as Deep Throat, Chris Matthews, Wolf Blitzer, and the Fox News Network Talking Heads all snapped into action: They booked the most insightful, most impartial guests for comment: Former Nixon Chief of Staff Al Haig, Former Nixon Counselor Charles Colson, and Former Nixon Speechwriter Patrick Buchanan.
With the indictment of Vice Presidential Chief of Staff and Presidential Counselor Scooter Libby, who has a better perspective than these guys to make the argument that that this case is, as the Wall Street Journal put it, “hoked up”? Cable news just isn’t fulfilling its promise unless it gets them back together again:
Host: Good Evening. I’m Sean O’Reilly Matthews. Gentlemen, many Republicans were dismissive of the charges against Scooter Libby, which focus on a potential “cover-up” and not the original crime being investigated. Did Prosecutor Fitzpatrick do admirable work here and should other White House officials, notably Karl Rove, be the next target?
Haig: Sean, do you call this an indictment? Come on, lying to the FBI? That’s nothing. Why, back in my day, the White House was committing real crimes! The President of the United States was putting rubber bands around stacks of pay-off money for heaven’s sake. The Attorney General was planning the break-ins of the offices of our enemies or the offices of their psychiatrists, girlfriends, auto mechanics, whatever. You’d go to his office at the Department of Justice and he’d have the blueprints of Daniel Ellsberg’s shrink spread out on top of his desk. Hell, I think he went on a few of the break-ins himself just so he felt qualified to direct them.
Buchanan: It was good for morale, too. I think he was driving the getaway car.
Haig: That’s what it meant to be a professional…once.
Buchanan: The Secretary of Commerce was shaking down corporations for hush money.
Colson: He had nothing on the Vice President who was such a pro at extortion that he was still getting cash payments delivered to his office six years after the fact. And the stories he would tell. “A construction company better not stop the checks from coming just because the building’s completed,” the VP would reminisce. “You can never tell when property taxes might increase…and I’m a lot friendlier than the tax collector. Heck, I’ll even throw in a round of golf!”
Buchanan: We’d laugh and laugh.
Haig: My predecessor as the President’s Chief of Staff was telling the CIA what to say. And he wasn’t all “girly” about it either. Not like today. Not like some in this Bush Administration: ‘Oooh….we didn’t tell the CIA what to say about Saddam trying to get yellowcake. Oh, we’re scared of the CIA. Tell us what to think you big tough CIA.’
Hell no! If Nixon had been in office he would have done himself what only Cheney had the guts to do: go down to the CIA office--repeatedly if they’re as slow as they used to be--and give it to the CIA Director straight: ‘Hey Tenant, who do you think you work for? You’d like one of those shiny Presidential medals, right? Then you’re going to go into the Oval Office and tell the President just what he wants to hear. Slam Dunk! Got it Georgie?’
Colson: And Nixon wouldn’t have been afraid to talk about it afterward either. Would have called Judith Miller himself. And if she were in jail at the time, all the better.
Haig: He’d have been the last person to sign some waiver to get her out.
Buchanan: And we didn’t compliment the Special Prosecutor either. When you’re in power, a dignified Special Prosecutor is a contradiction in terms.
Colson: Compliment him? We fired him! If Archie Cox had been putting reporters in jail, we might have gotten away with lynching him.
O’Reilly Matthews: Hold on. A surprise: calling in is your least favorite person, Washington Post reporter and Watergate hero Bob Woodward…
Woodward: Hey guys.
All three: Robbo!
O’Reilly Matthews: Wow, time really does heal all wounds.
Woodward: Sean, the four of us are only united to assure that U.S. scandal standards are maintained. As the official arbiter of all things Watergate, I have deemed this case to be “gossip”. When I heard about Plame from Libby, Card, Rove, Fleischer, Hanley…
O’Reilly Matthews: Boy you’re popular. We’re running out of time.
Woodward: Cheney. OK, OK. The entire White House staff. They weren’t saying, “Valerie Plame is married to Joe Wilson who’s nasty to the Administration. Can you believe she works at the CIA?” It was more like: “Valerie Plame works at the CIA and is just plain nasty. Can you believe she’s married to Joe Wilson?” Just innocent guy talk. And, come on, can you believe someone who looks like her married him?
O’Reilly Matthews: And it doesn’t make any difference that she was covert?
Woodward: Sean, how often is your program televised?
O’Reilly Matthews: Three times each day.
Woodward: You’re more covert than Valerie Plame.
Haig: Boy, you should have seen perjury back in the old days. It was really something. OK, times change. But Republicans shouldn’t. My friend here, Chuck Colson, and G. Gordon Liddy--these were Men. Do the crime, then do the time. But let’s do some real crime. ‘Scooter Libby arrested for littering. Democrats allege that Karl Rove doesn’t recycle either.’ Makes me sick. Damn sick. I’m not a lawyer, thank heavens. Can the President pardon Libby now, before the circus even starts? No self-respecting Republican would go to jail on these candy-ass charges.
Colson: Uh, Al, actually, I went to jail for Obstruction of Justice, one of the charges against Libby.
Haig: Chuck, you wanted to firebomb the Brookings Institution. You’re OK with me.
O’Reilly Matthews: Thanks for the insights, gentlemen. You’ve convinced your humble moderator. Karl Rove shouldn’t be indicted. He hasn’t earned it.