Bah Humbug!

As most expect Fitzgerald to hand out his indictments as early as later today, Fitzmas is in the air around liberal land. Decorations are on cars, and little children nap lazily while images of Karl Rove clapped in leg irons dance in their head. But much like my opinion toward the holiday that Fitzmas seeks to parody, I’ve grown a little cynical.

First, the odds. There are a lot of no names out there who may be brought up on charges, but there are, as you most undoubtedly know, three names that have everyone on the left side of the hill all hot and bothered; Libby, Rove, and Cheney.

Now’s the time to call the bookie before the indictments are handed out so you can place your bet. If you’re a smart gambler, than you put a considerable sum on Libby. By all accounts he’s the safest bet for a big name getting the big “I”. If you’re a little bit more daring than the occasional lottery ticket, I would say that Rove is a risky, but realistic, bet at about 7 to 1 (I don’t know odds, I’m just making stuff up). As for Cheney, if you are willing to put money down on his indictment, check into a clinic, you need help. It’s not that Dick’s indictment is impossible, just astronomically improbable.

But while one of the big three is most likely going to catch a bit of an indictment, with two more possibilities, I’m still not all that excited. Firstly, the only safe bet isn’t really a house hold name, and that’s kind of what you need for there to be a maximum backlash. If Cheney catches a case, than yeah, I’ll turn naked backflips in my front lawn, but some guy named “Scooter”?

But on top of that, what you see here is a situation which is negative for the GOP, but not really something that the Democrats can capitalize on. Well, they could, but only at the expense of reinforcing the obstructionist/political vulture image that has stagnated the Dem’s abilities to take advantage of the rest of the Republican flubs of the year.

On the other hand, while the Republicans will be on the receiving end of a political blow, there are actions, if they are smart, that can be taken to minimize the effect of the damage. By publicly, loudly, and frequently denouncing the actions that led to the leak, and by politically severing the indicted as much as possible. By taking swift and strict action, then the administration not only adheres to the self set standard of firing any employees in unlawful doing, it also provides a display of responsibility.

Second hand constituents can also assist by minimizing the significance of the event. I wish I could recall the source, but I had glanced over a touch of rhetoric from one conservative calling the whole thing ludicrous that after two years all Fitzgerald could get was someone on a purgery technicality.

As silly as this may seem, this is the kind of damage control you can expect to see from the right wing punditry in the aftermath of the indictments.

And ultimately, the big question that one has to digest is, “can middle America digest this?” While I think they can, and formal indictments will up the notch in public awareness beyond the domain of we merry few political wonks, it is not a certainty that this will have a lasting effect.

So yes, the Republicans are nervous, and rightly so, but as long as the impact remains uncertain, the Democrats have little they can do to capitalize, and the GOP can take action to minimize the damage, I think I’ll hold off on putting up my Fitzmas tree.

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