How vulnerable is GWB?

Why did George W. Bush decide to say something nice about Patrick Fitzgerald? Could he possibly be scared?

Patrick Fitzgerald interviewed George W. Bush early in the course of his investigation, back when many no-longer-operative stories were still current. I’ve been wondering whether Mr. Bush might have been tempted into telling some stretchers, and whether (only in my dreams!) Mr. Fitzgerald might name Mr. Bush an unindicted co-conspirator in either the plot to unmask Plame or the subsequent conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Hold that thought, if you will, and now consider with me a different puzzle. With Mr. Bush’s allies out there pre-emptively sliming Patrick Fitzgerald and claiming that what he’s investigating isn’t a crime at all, what could have possessed Mr. Bush when he said last week, “The special prosecutor is conducting a very serious investigation. He’s doing it in a very dignified way…” ?

I can come up with three explanations:

1. It happens to be the truth, and Mr. Bush prefers to tell the truth.

2. It was a generous thing to say, and Mr. Bush is habitually generous to his adversaries.

3. Mr. Fitzgerald has Mr. Bush by the gonads, and Mr. Bush, a coward as well as a bully, is begging him not to squeeze.

Which seems most plausible to you?

Of course, if you choose #3, you’d be forced to believe that Mr. Bush is, disloyally, putting his own welfare ahead of the welfare of a group of men who have been unfailingly loyal to him. And yet we all know that Bush puts a high value on loyalty.

So I guess it must be either #1 or #2.

Stop laughing, dammit! This is serious business! Don’t you have any respect for a wartime President? If you don’t stop laughing, the terrorists will have won.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: