If it’s Ari, is GWB somehow off the hook?
I don’t think so.

Tom Maguire seems to think that if it was President Bush’s former press secretary who directly told the press about the identity of an undercover CIA officer, that would constitute an “incredible shrinking scandal.”

Howzzat again?

1. Fleischer was an important charter member of the Bush Mafia, first achieving national prominence by pretending that the elderly Jews in Palm Beach — some of them Holocaust survivors — had intended to vote for Nazi sympathizer Pat Buchanan.

2. The fact, if it turns out to be a fact, that Fleischer made some of the initial press calls is in no way inconsistent with the idea that Karl Rove masterminded the effort. It seems wildly implausible that Fleischer would have done any such thing on his own, or that anyone would have done it without checking with Boy Genius/Turd Blossom first.

3. Even if Rove’s fingerprints can’t be found on the leak, it now seems overwhelmingly probable that he lied to investigators and perjured himself before the grand jury. Those aren’t minor technical offenses.

4. Moreover, it’s obvious that the President’s chief political adviser has been lying to the public for two years about his role in a nasty political dirty trick. Isn’t that a scandal? Isn’t Tom, a fan of Bush’s, surprised? I’m not, of course but then I’ve known for years that Bush and the people around him are lower than the whale dung on the bottom of the ocean. To a Bush supporter, this ought to be shocking.

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: