Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Great White Defendant

Tom Wolfe invented the theory of the Great White Defendant in his novel Bonfire of the Vanities about twenty years ago. The point being, that prosecutors feel the singe of conscience for enforcing the laws against minority groups, that on the rare occasion when they do get a privileged white defendant in their sight, they pursue him like Ahab going after the whale.

Well today, in the person of Scooter Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Richard Cheney, the Great White Defendant was convicted. The case, and its entire associated cultural environment, was a traveshamockery. The impetus of the case was the leak that Valerie Plame, wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson, was in the employ of the CIA.

As it happens, the leak was not a crime, nor was Libby the leaker. He was convicted on very technical charges of "lying" to a grand jury regarding really irrelevant arcana. I write "lying" because the case against him was essentially based on the compelled testimony of a few reporters against him, whose testimony he was not successfully able to impeach, at least partially because of adverse rulings from the trial judge.

But who cares? As this episode quickly fades into history, the Left will quickly forget all the details of the case (intentionally so, in fact) to emphasize that the Libby was convicted of four out of five felony counts. They, and Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald got their man. Everything else is details, and tedious details at that.

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