Friday, October 21, 2005

The Criminalization of Politics

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Many Conservatives are claiming that the indictments handed down against Tom Delay, and the current investigation into the role of the White House in the outing of CIA Agent Valerie Plame, plus the allegations of Insider Trading against Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist, are all reflective of a sudden, unparalleled attempt to criminalize political opponents. Are they suffering from short term memory loss?

Did everyone forget this guy:

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Here are some of the highlights of Ken Starr's investigation into the Whitewater affair:

1. Starr held Monica Lewinsky without a lawyer for eight or nine hours. (She was technically free to go, but coerced psychologically with threats of 27-year prison sentences.)
2. Starr tried to force Marcia Lewis, Lewinksy's mother, to testify against her. (She became ill as a result.)
3. Starr's investigators were bearing guns when they interrogated Lewinksy's brother.
4. Starr tried to pressure Whitewater witness Steve Smith to testify falsely, according to Smith.
5. Starr threatened Whitewater witness Sarah Hawkins with indictment without any evidence of wrong-doing.
6. Starr subpoenaed a sixteen-year old boy at his school to intimidate him.
7. Starr subpoenaed Robert Weiner for making a phone call from his home.
8. Starr kept Susan McDougal locked in jail for eighteen months and tried to get her to testify to an imaginary affair.
9. Starr subpoenaed White House aide Sidney Blumenthal for talking with the press about his investigation.
10. Starr subpoenaed a Little Rock home decorating store where Webster Hubbell shopped.
11. Starr subpoenaed bookstores where Monica Lewinsky shopped, trying to learn her reading habits.
12. Starr has subpoenaed Secret Service agents to testify against the president.
13. Starr tried to dig up dirt on the president's sex life long before the Monica Lewinsky allegations.
14. Starr's investigators harrassed White House Interior Department liaison Bob Hattoy about recruiting gay people to work in the Clinton Administration.
15. Starr considered running for a Republican Senate nomination in Virginia.
16. Starr was co-chairman of an unsuccessful Republican congressional campaign (Kyle McSlarrow, 1994).
17. Starr contributed $5,475 to Republican political candidates in the 1993-94 election cycle.
18. Starr spoke at right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson's Regent University while working as independent counsel.
19. Starr spent nearly $40 million to smear the president and has found no evidence of wrong-doing anywhere, except for the cover-up of a sexual affair.
20. When Starr appeared before the House Judicial committee, he answered at least 30 times with statements like "I can't recall…" "I don't remember…" even for momentous events like when he learned about the Tripp tapes.

More here: 68 reasons why Ken Starr's investigation was erroneous.

Related News Articles:
Weekly Standard: Criminalizing Conservatives.
America Blog: The Normalization of Treason
Think Progress: FNC pushing "Criminalization of Politics."

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Tony W said...

Wow Ken Star ............. The good ol days. That was when you spent 50 Million Dollars and come up with nothing. Now all you need to do is pick a Republican and you find a criminal. I miss Bill Clinton, if not just for the fact that I did not have to cringe when he spoke. I don't know if Bush is an idiot but something is wrong with him. I don't feel good knowing that he is meeting with world leaders and find it hard to believe that his support do either.

Graham said...

I think you might have mistaken me for a Conservative Tony. I certainly don't consider Ken Starr "the good ol days."

I miss Clinton, too, although I don't feel quite so strongly about Bush personally, like you describe.

Girl on the Blog said...

Wow... tony w took the words right out of my mouth about Bush... I hate to hear him open his mouth... I agree with graham on "I certainly don't consider Ken Starr "the good ol days""... Whatever happened to Ken??? Is he still around???

Graham said...

I'm not sure where he is now GOB, I know that he recently wrote a book because I remember him doing the talk shows. I know that he came out immediately in support of Harriet Miers, which says a great deal about his judgment, and die hard party political leanings, if we didn't know this already.

I do know he recently admitted he should never have pursued the Lewinsky affair, which is a pretty big admission.

M A F said...

Tony's sarcasm about the "good ol days" made me smile. I believe that the Republican party is currently suffering from cognitive dissonance or perhaps amnesia.

And while I have my doubts about indictments I have no doubt that I love the photoshop picture of Rove.

Graham said...

I know, the pic's a classic, lol. Selective amnesia is right MAF :).

JollyRoger said...

The wingnut faithful don't have "memory problems"-they don't have memories AT ALL, unless Rove supplies them through his parrot outlets.

Graham said...

So true jollyroger.

Jim said...


You come onto my site and leave a comment saying that considering the facts you have a hard time believing that I came tomy conclusion... I come here, and what do I find? a photoshoped pic of Rove and a get even fest with conservatives because we caught Clinton committing crimes.... Typical lefty BS

Graham said...

Hey Jim,

All I said was that from an objective POV I didn't understand how you could reach the conclusion you did. You're right, I do try to rise above typical partisan bickering, but there is an element of personal enjoyment at the current CIA leak scandal that manifests itself in the pic you see above. Yes, the pic is typical lefty BS but after a pretty bleak few years politically I do think it's understandable. Smear politics, after all, has been primarily responsible for undermining our voice in the national discourse.

+ My point is perfectly fair. There is nothing new or unparalelled about the criminalization of political opponents... which is the point that many have been making in defense of Roe, Libby, the WH, in the midst of Fitzgerald's investigation. It strikes me as a tad hypocritical.

I hope you get the chance to check out some of my other entries :).

Augustus-Reed said...


Did you see this:

avereragebusinessman said...

great post graham

the " crimes " don't even compare

right bs

Mojotek said...

Great post... I'm glad you brought this up as an analogy.

Graham said...

I know Augustus :)! Thanks for all your comments, I do find the current line about the criminalization of politics hard to take seriously. It's also ironic that Bill Krystol, perhaps my favorite Conservative writer, is was one of the most enthusiastic proponents of this point, and yet he couldn't wait to attack Clinton on similar grounds. There is a double standard for sure.

Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

The double standard is so obvious it is a joke; was a joke as, a matter of fact, on Real Time with Bill Maher last night when they showed clips of FOX news and how many times their pundits mentioned the criminalization of politics over the last week.

I thought it was funny but it may have been the gin.

Hypocrites all.

Graham said...

Hey Alice,

Hopefully their contradictions will get highlighted at some stage.

Jeremy said...

the difference is that clinton was guilty, and delay is innocent.

you can say what you want about who you want, but you're only fooling yourself...

Graham said...

I don't think I was isolating Tom Delay. I also think the point wasn't any individual crimes more the fervor and lust of political opponents to see those in power criminalized... a hypocritical criticism considering the Clinton scandal me thinks.

melior said...

Keep in mind through the next few weeks that perjury is lying.

...and It's Not About The Sex, It's About The Lying.

We won't let them forget.

The Libertarian Republican said...

All that said, Ken Starr would make a great Supreme Court justice... as a former judge who has also appeared before the SCOTUS many times, he's incredibly more qualified than Miers.

Graham said...

It's funny you say that because I was just listening to him argue the Casey vs. Planned Parenthood case, which he lost, and I was thinking the exact, opposite thing :). I don't see how someone with his indiscretions and aggressive behavior towards witnesses in the Whitewater investigation or... someone who believes, in agreement with Bush, that Harriet Miers is best qualified person available for SCOTUS (Starr was one of the first to offer his support)... I don't see how he would belong alongside the great men and women of the court.

Starr is fundamentally a partisan. Miers proves that.