Watching the growing uproar over Scott McClellan's revelation that Bush, Cheney, Rove, and Libby had sent him out on a mission to deceive the American people, I am reminded of one of my favorite tidbits to come out of Plamegate: the bizarre note Scooter had sent Scottie, suggesting language the press secretary should use in further pressing the falsehood that Libby had not leaked Valerie Plame's identity.
Here is what I wrote about the note back in April 2006, before Libby's conviction, before Bush's commutation, before McClellan -- "bitter and hurt" (and looking to sell some books) -- decided to finally come clean:
We know all about Scooter Libby's gifts as an X-rated novelist ("He asked if they should fuck the deer") and the writer of poetic letters ("Come back to work -- and life"), but it seems that the literary jack-of-all-trades also briefly tried his hand as speechwriter for White House press secretary Scottie McClellan.
Reading the tea leaves in Pat Fitzgerald's new court filing, it seems that Libby felt that, compared to Karl Rove, he was getting the short end of the public-exoneration stick.
At a September 29, 2003 press briefing, McClellan had strongly defended Rove, calling suggestions that Bush's Brain was a Plamegate leaker "ridiculous." "There is simply no truth to that suggestion," he said.
Libby felt he deserved the same kind of ringing -- and utterly bogus -- endorsement (Picture a White House Tommy Smothers: "POTUS always liked you best!"). So he picked up a pen and crafted a handwritten draft of what he wanted Scottie to say about him. As the New York Sun points out, Libby's note, as presented by Fitzgerald, "reads like a stanza of verse":
"People have made too much of the difference in
How I described Karl and Libby
I've talked to Libby.
I said it was ridiculous about Karl
And it is ridiculous about Libby.
Libby was not the source of the Novak story.
And he did not leak classified information."
Okay, let's put aside for a second the utter shamelessness of the lies ("he did not leak classified information"???), and just concentrate on the quality of the writing. It's not even bottom-shelf Dr. Seuss ("Karl and Libby did not leak. They did not leak on a plane. They did not leak on a train. They did not leak on the Hill. At the St. Regis they did not let it spill. No, no, no -- they are not Novak's Senior Administration Official Thing One and Senior Administration Official Thing Two.").
And what psychological significance are we to attach to the author repeatedly referring to himself by using his last name while using the more familiar first name of his fellow leaker Rove? "Rove and Libby" makes sense. "Karl and Scooter" does too. But "Karl and Libby"? Why?
In any case, Libby's suggested statement clearly lacks the special flavor of his other work. It's missing "The aspens will already be turning." It's missing "You went to jail in the summer. It is fall now."
No wonder Scottie rejected Libby's pallid prose, instead going with a more conversational falsehood, telling reporters that he had spoken to Libby, Rove (uh, Karl), and Elliot Abrams and "those individuals assured me they were not involved in this."
Note to Scooter: stick to the deer-fucking.