Monday, April 09, 2007

Indict Nancy Pelosi

Andrew McCarthy of NRO, with whom I usually agree, has written a poorly reasoned article urging the Bush Administration not to use a political tool against its political enemies that those enemies have been repeatedly using against the Bush Administration. That is to say, Mr. McCarthy urges Bush not to indict Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for flagrantly violating the Logan Act (prohibiting anyone not authorized by the President from conducting foreign policy relations). Why?

Not because she isn’t clearly guilty. Mr. McCarthy argues she is (though whether a D.C. jury would convict her is another story – one Mr. McCarthy does not address). No, Mr. McCarthy argues that we shouldn’t go running to the courts, even if we could, every time an essentially political dispute arises. The key word there is “we.” It’s a word Mr. McCarthy uses a lot in his article, for example:

“We spent three years not on these crucial matters of policy but obsessed over whether there had been a technical violation of statutes barring disclosures of classified information (viz., the fact of Valerie Plame Wilson’s employment by the CIA) . . .”

What “we” is he talking about? Certainly not me, nor any of my ilk (conservatives) nor indeed the majority of the American people – nor even himself! Rather, the “we” was exclusively partisan Democrats and their accomplices in the MSM. Despite some pretty heroic efforts, and the truth clearly on our side (“our” meaning conservatives) we could not stop the Plame kerfuffle witchhunt, and Scooter Libby will likely lose his freedom over it. (If Mr. McCarthy meant “we” as including all who wasted time on the Plame kerfuffle, then his grammar is poor as “we” were not all “obsessed,” only those partisan Democrats were.)

With all due respect to Mr. McCarthy, as excellent a prosecutor as he is, I don’t think he has a keen sense of Democrat politics. Collectively, they are sociopaths with no regard for history, tradition or fair play. Indeed, their leading intellectuals all eschew those very concepts. Just as with our enemies abroad, there is nothing we can do to make the Democrats like us, nor should we try. When we don’t use a potential weapon against them that they have used against us, our weakness merely emboldens them.

Republicans generally honor history, tradition and fair play (“HTFP”). When individual Republicans fall out of line, we quickly take care of them internally. There are two ways to look at the Republican stance on HTFP – first, that we really mean it and second that it is better politically to honor HTFP because the electorate by and large does. The larger point is that honoring HTFP only works politically until the Democrats pull the trigger and get away with it. Democrats tried to filibuster Bush’s judicial nominees, going against HTFP. They paid for it politically, so they stopped. However, Democrats have been abusing the legal system for decades, have paid very little political price, and keep on doing it.

Mr. McCarthy seems to be appealing to Republican’s sense of HTFP in urging Bush not to indict Pelosi. If we could be sure the Democrats would do the same, I’d be all for it. However, we know they won’t. They’ve already crossed the line. The way to get them to stop abusing the legal system is to use it against them as they have been using it against us. Recall how the Democrats lost much zeal for the independent prosecutor law when it was turned full force on Bill Clinton. It’s time we turned the President’s power to issue indictments full force on the Democrats.

Is this a law enforcement issue?

Mr. McCarthy’s weakest point is arguing that because law enforcement techniques were inadequate in dealing with al Qaeda, law enforcement techniques are not useful for anything not a “law enforcement problem.” This is comparing apples to oranges. In the first instance, law enforcement techniques were inadequate. In dealing with Pelosi, Mr. McCarthy is arguing that indicting her would be using too big a stick. Or is Mr. McCarthy arguing that we should declare war on Pelosi? In more revolutionary times, I might be all for it. Or is he saying that we should use exclusively political methods against our terrorist enemies abroad?

Just because law enforcement techniques were not sufficient for a war, that does not mean they are not useful even in that context. For a political battle, Democrats use the law enforcement weapon all the time. Why shouldn’t we, especially when an actual crime has been committed? Or is Mr. McCarthy saying that political enemies have immunity from criminal enforcement?

When engaging enemies, we should use all available and legal tools. Using both war and law enforcement methods against al Qaeda is appropriate. The availability of one does not preclude the use of the other (we should certainly be using political and diplomatic methods, too). In dealing with the enemy at home – and make no mistake, the current Democrat leadership wants the U.S. to lose the war in Iraq and make America weaker militarily – we should use all available tools fighting them.

Don’t investigate Pelosi – debate her?

Oh, how joyous it would be if we could subject our political opponents to cross-examination, and force the voting populace to watch. Even in Presidential debates, hard questions are easily duckable. Debate Pelosi? Where? On the floor of Congress? Who will be watching? In the media? Aren’t we already doing that (at least, with the media outlets conservatives control)?

Pelosi went to Syria for one reason only – to hurt George Bush politically. It seems not to have worked, which is a good thing, but it doesn’t change her reasons, or her determination to behave illegally again if she thinks it will help achieve that goal.

My final thought on the matter is that it would be wonderful for the country if Pelosi spent the next two years defending herself in a criminal case than concentrating on actually doing something in Congress. Throw the book at her, George.