"Criminalizing politics." Say it with us, kids, and get used to the cadence. We're going to hear the phrase a bunch in the coming weeks, as indictments are handed up by a grand jury investigating the Valerie Plame leak.
Bob Novak, the undead columnist better known as Novakula, began the meme last week in a column about Tom DeLay's indictment. But the line's too fine to confine.
When Karl Rove (and/or Lewis Libby) are indicted for obstruction of justice and/or perjury, GOP pundits will cluck and blurt: "This is such a shame, the way they're criminalizing politics." As if leaking a CIA agent's name to ruin her husband's reputation is, you know, nothing more than politics, and certainly nothing so sinister as to warrant indictments.
If they're really being hypocrites, the GOP gasbags will decry the "politics of personal destruction" that their side practiced so well in the 1990s against Bill Clinton. Even we don't think they've got the stones to do it.