It was exactly ten years ago today that Scooter Libby was indicted over the Valerie Plame affair. For those of you who don’t eat and breathe this stuff, top people in the Bush White House leaked Plame’s identity as an undercover CIA agent to the press in order to soil the credibility of her husband, Joseph Wilson, who had questioned some of their claims about Iraq. It’s notable because it shows that Republicans, who claim to be the most patriotic party, are actually willing to commit low level treason in the name of power.
But let us not focus on that. I want to talk about Scotter Libby. He was given 30 months for his crimes. But President Bush commuted that part of his sentence. So he still owed a fine, had to be on probation for a couple of years, and had to complete some community service. But as anyone who has studied the criminal justice system knows, none of that — including the 30 months in prison — is the worst thing that happens. The worst thing is being labeled a felon and basically never being able to get a good job ever again.
Did that happen to Scooter Libby? Did he have to lie on employment applications? Did he have to cringe at the idea of a background check? Of course not! I don’t know what he’s doing now. There’s nothing much about him other then a bunch of articles about him getting his voting rights back, because he lives in the vile state of Virginia where they think people should be punished for the rest of their lives. But I assume that one of two things are going on with Libby: (1) he’s rich enough that he doesn’t need to work; or (2) he was set up in a cushy job paying hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by his friends.
It is this kind of thing that shows most clearly that we live in a class based society. This kind of conviction would largely destroy the life of a normal person. For Scooter Libby, it was just a bump in the road.