Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Who Is Scooter Libby?

That's what Slate attempted to answer with a story by John Dickerson.

One interesting passage discusses the 'Aspens Turning' lines from Libby's letter to Judith Miller.

Now no one is giving Libby the benefit of the doubt, at least in interpreting his mysterious jailhouse note to Judy Miller. That letter ended with a personal passage that seemed to cry out for accompaniment by moody background music: "You went into jail in the summer. It is fall now. You will have stories to cover- Iraqi elections and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian nuclear program. Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning.
They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work- and life. Until then, you will remain in my thoughts and prayers. With admiration, Scooter Libby."

Was this a hint to Miller about staying on the same page- either with her journalistic colleagues who seem to have backed Libby's story to the grand jury, or with her fellow former believer in Saddam's WMD stockpiles? Patrick Fitzgerald
certainly wanted to know if Libby was trying to coach the reluctant witness to bolster his own case. Libby helpfully pointed out earlier in the letter that "every other reporter's testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame's name or identity with me, or knew about her before our call."

Or, Scooter may have been playing with coded meanings that most of us are too dull to see. This suspicion arises naturally because of Libby's connection with
Straussianism. Leo Strauss, the German-Jewish political philosopher, is seen by many as one of the intellectual fathers of neoconservatism. Wolfowitz, Libby's teacher at Yale, was a graduate student at the University of Chicago during Strauss' ascendancy, and Libby won membership into that conservative club via Wolfowitz. Part of Strauss' teaching is that ancient philosophers wrote on two levels: for the mumbling masses, but also, and often in contradiction of the literal message, on an "esoteric" level that only initiates could make out. Some Straussians have adopted this code themselves. So, where Homer Simpson would interpret Libby's note as ham-handed fawning over Judy, a Straussian close reader might discern something more devious: a literary file in the cake for both of them.

Another interesting passage is where Dickerson compares Libby to Rove:

The daily communications operation is not something he cares much about. Rove, by contrast, spends a portion of every day running his own press operation. He sends BlackBerry messages, forwards polling data, and argues his case to influential journalists.

Thcharacterizationion departed from the normal MSM reports about the Whitehouse. What I mean is that Rove is often called "Bush's Brain" and is said to be behind nearly all of Bush's political moves. Alwidelydly reported is Bush's self-proclaimed stance that he "doesn't do polls." Reconcile these two "known facts" with the image of Rove forwarding polling data (to whom?).


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