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I don’t like Rod Blagojevich. I know it’s immature to judge someone just because you don’t like his looks, but call me shallow, I don’t like him. From his beady little narrow-set eyes to his really big, really ridiculous hair and right down to his bad Elvis impersonation, the guy creeps me out. I’d bet Obama’s first-rate Ivy League affirmative action education that he’s guilty of something.
But if Blago is a slime ball, then U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is the slug crawling out of his southern end. Fitzgerald makes the Obama Administration look honest. Fitzgerald makes a case for mothers who eat their young. He is yet another in an endless series of George W. Bush screwups—and the worst thing about W’s screwups is that they always have a century-and-a-half-long shelf life.
Patrick Fitzgerald is the prosecutor that hounded Dick Cheney’s chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby into the ground as the supposed leaker who outted CIA turncoat Valerie Plame, and destroyed his reputation in an investigation that finally ended Libby up in federal prison and disbarred for life. Was Libby guilty? No. Oops.
No, when Fitzgerald identified the real culprit, arrogant State Department windbag Richard Armitage, he had to pin something on Libby, so he prosecuted him for bad memory (perjury), a charge that had absolutely nothing to do with the charges against him in the Plame affair. Libby literally only misstated a date on his calendar. Fitzgerald never charged Armitage with this dastardly breach of national security.
In the process of dogging Scooter Libby into unemployment, poverty and finally prison, Fitzgerald threw Washington correspondent Judith Miller in the jug for several months for refusing to reveal Libby as the source who leaked Valerie Plame as a covert CIA agent, which, by the way, she was not. Well, Judith Miller in the joint was a good thing, but you get my drift. Just kidding.
When the Freddy Kruger of federal prosecutors was assigned the Blagojevich case, he promised us that he was stopping a “political crime spree” before it happened. He went on a campaign—backed by all of the resources of the federal government—to destroy this little bug’s reputation and have him impeached and thrown out of office as governor of Illinois.
Before Blago was found guilty of even one charge, before he was even tried by a jury of his peers, Patrick Fitzgerald ignited a public firestorm against the man, whom he knew the country would hate on sight.
Just as he did in the prosecution of Scooter Libby, Fitzgerald has driven Blagojevich into the ground, denied him the means to earn a living (Libby is still unemployed) and ruined any hope of the former governor ever holding a serious job in the private sector, much less in government. Blago may turn this around, but his chances are slim.
I’ll take odds that Blago will end up in federal prison—for something.
Now a conservative (to the right of Attila actually) guy like me is tempted to say good riddance to Rob Blagojevich. Frankly, I cringe every time they put him on the tube. He is, as I have suggested, everything I hate about American politics.
But when a federal prosecutor can reduce a man to grubbing for work at trade shows and humiliate his wife into subbing for her husband on a reality TV show that trailer trash considers low rent—simply to put food on the table—and when he can do this all before the man has been found guilty of anything, he can do the same to me. And if you think Scooter Libby and Blago are obnoxious you should see me in front of a camera.
On this the esteemed liberal Professor Alan Dershowitz and I agree: There is something intrinsically wrong with system of justice that can do this to a person without anything more than a hint of guilt.