The Corner

Re: Scant Sympathy for Scooter

Reactions to my post.

Pro: 

Mr. Derbyshire—Excellent point on how jail is an occupational hazard of national politics. Being a major national player means, for better or worse, having serious enemies that will try to destroy you. It’s sad, I guess, but the stakes are so high that it’s just an inevitable part of the game, and a bit pointless to lament. It seems we have been expanding the pool of jobs that carry that incarceration risk. Legislation like Sarbanes-Oxley appears to increase the jail-risk odds of the CEOs and CFOs of the world. Again, these are powerful, wealthy people who probably end up ok even if they have to do a short stint in jail.

Of course, this increased jail risk means that CEO pay has to rise even more to make the risk worthwhile … and the massive CEO pay is what creates so many enemies, and fosters so little public sympathy, in the first place!

And Con:

Yeah, Scooter buried under 5 million dollars (so far) in legal bills with a 3 million dollar defense fund is no big deal. You’re a mathematician, so perhaps you can count out what 2 million dollars is when you have no income, have been or will soon be disbarred. Phffft.  Nothing at all. 

and another Con:

Your comment that Libby going to jail is no big deal is disgraceful.  I don’t really give a crap what happened to Robert Walpole.  An injustice is an injustice.  No, he doesn’t have to worry about where his next paycheck is coming from, but he does have to worry about his two kids thinking their father is a criminal and he has to live with people seeing him as the guy who committed a crime that never even occurred because he was convicted of having a bad memory.  You know this whole thing was a travesty from start to finish, and just shrugging it off is pathetic.   After the charges were dropped in the Duke lacrosse case, ABC’s Terry Moran had a blog post telling us that whole mess wasn’t really a big deal, b/c the Duke players didn’t have to worry about where their next meal was coming from, while black defendants falsely accused of crimes can’t afford decent representation.  Blacks may be wrongly convicted more frequently than whites due to poor representation, etc.  Sure, it’s something we need to fix.  But Moran’s comment about the Duke players was despicable, and the backlash was huge.  They were treated like criminals, and the state essentially declared them criminals for a crime they didn’t commit.  In Libby’s case, the state did declare him a criminal and he was sentenced as if he had committed a crime that never even occurred.  And your reaction?  “No big deal.  Happens all the time.” 

The parallel with the Duke boys seems to me a stretch.  The impact on their lives of being jailed would have been an order of magnitude greater than the impact on Libby’s life of his sentence.  And all they did was have a party.  Libby went into national politics.  Which is a bear pit.  As he surely knew.