Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Remember when a 1990s White House trashed a special prosecutor on a daily basis? My, how times have changed for the liberals

After the Paula Jones-Monica Lewinsky sleazefest embarrassed America the person who came off looking the worst was not the president who repeated lied under oath, to the media and to constiuents but the special prosecutor tasked with uncovering all the lies, Ken Starr. Bill Clinton's henchmen carried out a scorched-earth tactic that slimed opponents, poisoned Washington and raised the art of "spinning" average Americans to unseen heights.

Now, liberals praise the "boy scoutish" Patrick Fitzgerald while the Bush administration stays mum and lets the legal process run its course. National Review's Rich Lowry does a good job of contrasting the way Starr and Fitzgerald were and have been treated, respectively.

Fitzgerald has a black-and-white view of the world. So did Clinton-era independent counsel Ken Starr. Fitzgerald is, by all counts, personally upright. So is Starr. He takes lying under oath seriously. So did Starr. He is willing to pursue perjury allegations even when there is not an underlying crime. So was Starr. The difference is that Starr was arrayed against a White House that declared war on him, his staff and his investigation.

Fitzgerald and Starr aren’t exact duplicates. Fitzgerald is an experienced prosecutor. Starr wasn’t. But this actually worked in the Clinton White House’s favor, since a hard-bitten prosecutor treating the president like any other suspect — a prosecutor like “Fitzy” in other words — might have been more effective and ruthless. Fitzgerald’s prosecution has also been leak-proof. Starr’s wasn’t, although many of the leaks attributed to his office came from Clinton spinners seeking both to get out bad news early and to discredit Starr for leaking.

In contrast to Fitzgerald, Starr’s uprightness was used against him, to prove that he was a hopeless stiff. That he tried to engage in standard prosecutorial methods — like flipping low-level witnesses against their superiors, a favored Fitzgerald tactic that liberals hope he is attempting in this case — was taken as evidence of his extremism. He was accused of being “obsessed with sex,” when he had no say in whether Clinton decided to have sex with an intern and lie about it (surely, he would have advised against it). This would be like accusing Fitzgerald of being perversely “obsessed with secrecy,” since he is investigating the mishandling of classified material.

Click here for the rest of the article... Rich Lowry on Patrick Fitzgerald on National Review Online: FitzCult, a prosecutor’s fame


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