The Note at ABC thinks the Plamegate scandal could have legs. I wish I agreed:
And this is where that old Washington rule kicks in.
No, no -- not "it's not the crime; it's the cover-up" (although that has kicked in too).
We are thinking of: "It is the scandal that is understandable to Joe and Gennifer Six Pack that can get you in the end."
And this one is pretty easy to understand, based on known facts.
For the average American, it is unseemly for the president's senior adviser, using inside information, to discredit enemies of the president anonymously....
It's not a hard story line: Guy hits administration on Iraq so the White House potentially breaks the law (or, at least, the Marquis of Queensberry Rules) and gives up his wife, the CIA agent.
I'm sure that's how this looks to ABC's Mark Halperin, who writes The Note and is literally a son of the Washington Establishment. Me, I'm the son of a truck driver. Here's what I think Mr. and Mrs. Six Pack are thinking:
First of all, they're thinking: Who are these people again? Joseph Wilson's op-ed about the Niger claims in the State of the Union address made a huge splash within the political world, and among us political junkies, but I'm afraid the rest of the country doesn't know the first thing about it. If what Wilson had exposed was the fact that Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction when we invaded -- something that really has begun to upset average Americans -- then he and Plame might have the nation's sympathy by now. But I'm afraid most Americans couldn't tell you squat about the Niger claim.
Second, the Six Packs may be wondering what harm was done. Valerie Plame suffered no physical harm -- at a time when an awful lot of people are being killed and injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in terrorist attacks. And while her cover has been blown, she hasn't lost her house or gone into bankruptcy, something most Americans could imagine happening to themselves if someone forced them out of a job through malice. Which brings us to...
...this picture from the Vanity Fair article on Wilson and Plame. It's showing up on TV news again as the standard photo of Plame, and I almost think it's enough to spare Karl Rove's job all by itself. In the picture, I'm sorry to say, Plame and Wilson look filthy rich and arrogant; if these two haven't suffered an assassination attempt or a foreclosure notice and they look like this, forget it -- they'll never get sympathy. If they really wanted to see Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs, they should have given VF a wide berth and started hosting an evangelical talk show.