Lugubrious Tales Of Woe
Zack Roth catches Chris Matthews mistaking Eric Holder's dismissal of charges in the Ted Stevens case, due to prosecutorial misconduct, with the notion that Stevens was completely innocent and the charges should have never been filed.
It's no surprise that Matthews has no idea how the criminal justice system works. And of course, the rest of the Village establishment has taken up for their pal Ted as well, deliberately misreading yesterday's events and intoning gravely how this honorable man has been "besmirched."
George Stephanopoulos of ABC News (via Twitter): "Whatever your politics, hard not to feel for Ted Stevens."
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL): "This incredible man, he served his country well, he was a power player ... he took care of Alaska."
Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT): "We're delighted that it's been demonstrated that Ted was telling us the truth all along. (Ed: Needless to say, nothing of the sort was demonstrated.) Obviously, we're a little disappointed that this didn't come out before the election....I think he can get his reputation back. I don't know where he goes to get his legal fees back."
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): "Here's a guy who gave 60 years of service to this country, and he was screwed [by federal prosecutors] ... How does he get his reputation back?"
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ): "That's why we have the presumption of innocence ... I never called for him to step down or resign or anything like that. I think those who did might regret it now."
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): "[I am] deeply disturbed that the government can ruin a man's career and then say, 'Never mind.'"
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI): "I didn't tell him this, but, you know, he's really suffered ... I don't want to use the word 'angry,' but I'm just disappointed that prosecutors were involved in that type of misbehavior ... Lawyers' fees are not cheap. He'll have to work the rest of his life."
As Roth notes, the bulk of these quotes appeared in "responsible Beltway publications," without being challenged or balanced with a statement of the plain fact that nothing in the dismissal of the suits admits Stevens' innocence.
For the record I think Holder did the right thing. The prosecutors clearly committed misconduct and that shouldn't go by without consequences. I also hope this is just the beginning of restoring the assault on the rule of law committed at the highest levels of the Justice Department, and Don Siegeleman's phone should be getting a ring shortly.
But this is classic Village behavior. Their friend, the guy they see shopping at the Safeway all the time, gets off on a technicality, and the collective water works come out, and these encomiums, these tales of woe. Meanwhile thousands of people are railroaded all the time in the criminal justice system, a key piece of our failed prison policy. But of course the Village doesn't KNOW those folks.
...and the Alaska GOP thinks we should rerun Stevens' Senate election. Can't wait to see that in Ruth Marcus' column shortly.