October 30, 2005
Bush Must Seize the Moment
So who exactly
leaked to columnist Robert Novak? That was the big question that
was supposed to be answered. The CIA leak probe was, after all,
about a leak. In particular it was about the leak of classified
government information, namely the clandestine intelligence service
of Mrs. Valerie (Plame) Wilson. That was the mission of
special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. But after a two-year tortuous
investigation, he failed to complete his assignment. Instead,
he produced a five-count indictment of Lewis “Scooter” Libby,
the vice president’s chief of staff, on a Martha Stewart-like
technicality of perjury, making false statements, and obstructing
lawyer completely denies these charges, although it’s probable
that Libby did make a bunch of mistakes in the course of the investigation.
Still, in America, you are innocent until proven guilty. And Fitzgerald
may have a devil of a time drawing a curious he-said-she-said
conviction out of a series of alleged phone calls between Tim
Russert, Matt Cooper, Judy Miller, and Scooter Libby.
In the meantime,
we still don’t know the identity of the leaker.
President Dick Cheney simply called George Tenet over at the CIA
and said, “George, who the hell is this Joseph Wilson guy? I never
sent him to Niger or anywhere else. Why is he writing this crazy
stuff in the New York Times questioning whether Saddam was seeking
nuclear material?” That’s just my speculation about the origin
of the leak. And whether it did or didn’t happen that way, Cheney
never told Scooter Libby to mouth off to various big-shot reporters.
The White House should have merely issued a statement saying they
had no knowledge of Wilson’s assignment and left it that. But
at least now we know there was no conspiracy running through the
White House. Watergate-wishing Democrats will be sorely disappointed.
There are no high crimes and misdemeanors.
chief of staff, meanwhile, appears to have escaped with his life.
Fitzgerald bent over backwards to allow certain Karl Rove “corrections”
into the grand jury record in return for total cooperation in
the investigation. There’s more to be revealed on this front,
but for now we have one indictment for allegedly not telling the
truth in an investigation that seems to have not found any wrongdoing
in the matter of the “outing” of a CIA operative.
quite a long time for so little of a result. Did Wall Street even
notice? Not at all. The stock market was too busy rallying on
the sensational economic news that gross domestic product grew
3.8 percent (while core inflation rose only 1.3 percent) for the
third quarter. That’s a heck of a number when you consider the
disruptions that two major hurricanes caused this country during
be no doubt about it: President Bush’s economy is recovered and
roaring. His supply-side tax cuts are clearly working, and he
has an excellent base on which to begin to recover his administration.
To be sure,
the second-term White House looks tired, and could use an infusion
of new blood in all the key areas, indictments or not. With the
Harriet Miers pick having gone down to the cheers of constitutional
originalists everywhere, a good strong conservative Supreme Court
nomination is now a must. Bush’s conservative base is still with
him, but he must produce results.
Bush has this economy working for him, he must take this opportunity
to reinvigorate his entire policy machine. On the domestic side,
the president needs to promote large spending cuts, tax-cut extensions,
and pro-growth tax reform, all of which will put even that much
more firepower into a resilient economy. He needs to start talking
tort reform again, must outline a tough immigration-reform plan,
and should also stop congressional Republicans from their Jimmy
Carter-style anti-capitalist bashing of energy companies. On this
last point, it’s our maligned fuel producers who are essential
to economic growth, and who would love to invest in new refineries
and nuclear plants if only government regulators would step out
of the way. Declaring war on business is a Democratic ploy, and
the president should stand up and say so. A hundred million investors
and 140 million workers will back him on this.
Bush must keep the Iraq conversation alive, taking his message
of freedom to the people, pointing out the success of the constitutional
vote, and combating the stream of anti-war negativity that flows
from the mainstream media.
couldn’t deliver a leaker. And on the same day Fitzgerald produced
his findings, a fat GDP number greeted Wall Street. I’m getting
the sense that the winds are turning back in the favor of this
administration. Bush must seize the moment.
Kudlow is a former Reagan economic advisor, a syndicated columnist,
and the co-host of CNBC's Kudlow
& Company. Visit
his blog, Kudlow's Money