Kathleen Goes Dark

Kathleen Parker has, of late, been discovering that her fellow conservatives of the smug and sheltered suburban variety are kind of douchebags, and by the way the Christian Right is neither. To some that makes her more tolerable as a pundit, but today she’s back in her old form, defending Bybee and Yoo because, after all, they were just like defense attorneys:

In the weeks sincePresident Barack Obama
released the so-called “torture memos,” both men have been demonized
and tried in the public square for expressing a now-unpopular legal
opinion. Depending on the outcome of an investigation pending in the
Justice Department, the men could face sanctions or, in the case of
Bybee, impeachment.

When did we start punishing lawyers for producing opinions with which we disagree?

If by “demonized and tried in the public square” you mean “justifiably called assholes and lizards and told that they suck mostly by filthy hippies on blogs only to be defended on national TV by none other than the former vice president of the United States and given a columnist’s job at a major metro daily,” you’ll have to pardon me if I can’t work up the same sympathy for Bybee and Yoo I have for the attorneys of drug dealers and child molesters.

It is easy now to declare that waterboarding is torture. I
personally would agree, but then, I have a low tolerance for the
sensation of drowning and the perception of imminent death.

Do you listen to yourself? By that measure, the only thing I would agree would be torture is the thing where they let insects crawl on someone becauseuuugggghhhhh. It’s all about you, Katykins, isn’t it?

Whether one agrees with the Bybee-Yoo interpretation is a difference of
opinion, but nothing more. Any fair assessment has to include
consideration of context and distinctions that matter, including the
definition of waterboarding, which varies according to country and

The cop who pulls you over has a difference of opinion from you as to whether speeding constituted a violation of the rules, too. I have a difference of opinion about whether I’m allowed to rob a bank today because the ferrets need new toys. We all have differences of opinion, it’s why the grounds for justifiable homicide aren’t the same here as in, say, Uruguay, but come the fuck on, are you seriously telling me that somebody can argue up is down and that’s just a “difference of opinion?”

Wait. You’re a Republican. Of COURSE that’s what you’re saying.

Even if Bybee and Yoo were wrong, their error doesn’t rise to the level
of an ethical offense, much less a war crime. Under the Justice
Department’s own standards, an ethical issue would arise only if their
opinion was so obviously wrong that no reasonable lawyer could possibly
reach the same conclusion.

By that standard, the only obvious
wrong is the continued persecution of Jay Bybee and John Yoo. The
effect sanctions might have on future lawyering, meanwhile, could be

Yes, the eternal Republican argument when it comes to lawyers, political appointees and pundits: We may be the party of the biggest badassest manliest men around, but if you call us names or opine that maybe we did something wrong, you’ll so crush our fragile spirits that no one, anywhere, ever, will want to do anything again.

I really wish they’d recall all this wanking about the chilling effect of expressing one’s opinions while they’re calling war hero senators pussies for windsurfing, but whatever. The point is that John Yoo is sleeping fine tonight, and I doubt Jay Bybee will ever miss a meal. Can’t say the same for millions of Americans (let’s not even talk about the tortured prisoners) who don’t merit mention in Kathleen’s columns.

I hope this doesn’t have a chilling effect on future column-writing, Kathleen, but: Schmuck.


8 thoughts on “Kathleen Goes Dark

  1. getting the lawyers to write the opinions created the perfect screen of protection, by the standards of the never-right.
    you can’t fault the lawyers because, hey, they were just rendering a legal opinion and you can’t fault those who acted under cover of that legal opinion because, hey, the lawyers told them it was okay.
    i’d like to see obama test this theory. he could start with getting a legal opinion that political pundits who have been wrong about everything lose their right to express their opinion.

  2. Pardon me for pointing this out, Kathleen, but while the Constitution (according to the Supremes) guarantees representation by counsel, even for child molesters, it does not:
    a) guarantee a right to violate the code of legal ethics
    b) guarantee a right to offer demonstrably bogus legal opinions
    c) guarantee a right to be a total schmuck.
    Sorry, Kathleen, but we have *always* punished lawyers for producing opinions that are contrary to the established law of the land. It’s called disbarment.

  3. What ever happened to that quaint oath of office the President, and all other federal officials swear to? You know, the one about defending the US Constitution? No one in full possession of his mental capacity can fail to notice that the Constitution say:
    Cruel and unusual punishment isn’t allowed, and
    Treaties, once ratified have the full force of law.
    Just thought I would ask.

  4. The Editors’ comment that we’re seeing a “reverse Nuremberg” defense – they were just giving orders – is my favorite observation about the LEAVE JOHN YOU ALOOONE lobby.

  5. The problem was these guys weren’t supposed to act like defense attorneys; they were supposed to be the prosecution. Their job was to figure out whether the administration’s proposed actions violated the law, not how the law could be bent so it could be violated. They weren’t supposed to be Bush’s attorneys; they were supposed to be the Constitution’s attorneys.

  6. the roll back to sanity and OLD AMERICAN VALUES(yes yes, appearances only) has been a cold shower for them. sucks to be outside again.

  7. Kathleen I will bet you 6000 to 3000 that your slimy legal ass will not stand up in court and say, these two lawyers are the lying slime that helped start a war but they should not be disbarred because they are really truly right wing slime who will be valuable since we know we can count on them to lie for the gipper all of the time. These are legal legends, they have no grasp of the law, they don’t write coherently and they will support terror on everyone’s street. We need these true luminaries to defend the right of the big guys to murder and torture for fun and profit.
    Yep, Kathleen, put your money where your lying mouth sticks it. Forget that your so called newpaper is going down the tubes. Show me that you need to be disbarred too. Just before the treason conspiracy charges hits your door.

  8. Does anyone remember when the federal government razed an entire Big Handful accounting firm because some of their partners had a difference of opinion on the GAAP requirements for reporting special-purpose entities? No torture, very few deaths, but still criminal and civil liability. So this “difference of opinion” on whether beating the crap out of people in imminent fear of death is OK — not even close to the line.

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