Says 'Both Crossed the Rubicon Last Night', 'Even Nixon Knew When It Was Time to Go'...
By Margie Burns on 7/3/2007, 6:25pm PT  

Blogged from D.C. by Margie Burns

In a pretty spectacular peroration tonight, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann delivered a ten-minute indictment of the president and vice president and asked Bush to perform one last act of patriotism: resign.

Complete transcript here, video at left.

Saying “Even Richard Nixon knew it was time to resign” and adding that Nixon’s resignation, belated though it was, ranked as one final action of nonpartisanship, Olbermann urged George W. Bush to emulate Nixon, “not for self, not for party,” but for the country.

Olbermann also prefaced his speech, in one of several promotional moments, with the comment that “No one is holding their breath on this, but frankly, were Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush true patriots, they would resign.”

Olbermann’s “Special Comment on Resignation” followed his five-part Countdown of the day’s events, mostly focused on Bush’s commuting the sentence of Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby. Quoting John Wayne on JFK after the election of 1960 – “I didn’t vote for him, but I hope he does a good job” – Olbermann apostrophized Bush, “that is what you threw away,” in commuting Libby’s sentence – “an implicit trust, a sacred trust” that at some times a president, always head of a political party, can “suspend his political self.” Olbermann said that Bush took the "sacred oath of nonpartisanship," ceded willingly to him by most citizens after 9/11, and "honed it," "sharpened it," and "stabbed it" into the heart of Americans who trusted him when he decided to cut his man loose after he was convicted by a jury of his peers and by a fair judge.

The entire speech (most of which went by too fast for any transcription not in shorthand to catch) was strong. Olbermann referred to Bush as “president of a rabid and irresponsible corner of the Republican party” – the high-priced neocon faction in the pro-war media. Referring to the fact that the commutation occurred without the courtesy of consulting with the DOJ, etc, Olbermann suggested accurately that it raises the suspicion that someone told Libby, “Break the law however you choose, you will not go to prison!”

In a long and serious string of j’accuse statements, Olbermann began with, “I accuse you, Mr. President, of lying this country into war,” and ended with the appearance of a “carte blanche” given regarding Libby and Cheney’s treatment of Joseph Wilson – culminating with the commutation of Libby’s sentence, thus “you [the president] becoming an accessory to the obstruction of justice.”

UPDATE: Here's the "J'accuse" section...

I accuse you, Mr. Bush, of lying this country into war.

I accuse you of fabricating in the minds of your own people, a false implied link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.

I accuse you of firing the generals who told you that the plans for Iraq were disastrously insufficient.

I accuse you of causing in Iraq the needless deaths of 3,586 of our brothers and sons, and sisters and daughters, and friends and neighbors.

I accuse you of subverting the Constitution, not in some misguided but sincerely-motivated struggle to combat terrorists, but to stifle dissent.

I accuse you of fomenting fear among your own people, of creating the very terror you claim to have fought.

I accuse you of exploiting that unreasoning fear, the natural fear of your own people who just want to live their lives in peace, as a political tool to slander your critics and libel your opponents.

I accuse you of handing part of this Republic over to a Vice President who is without conscience, and letting him run roughshod over it.

And I accuse you now, Mr. Bush, of giving, through that Vice President, carte blanche to Mr. Libby, to help defame Ambassador Joseph Wilson by any means necessary, to lie to Grand Juries and Special Counsel and before a court, in order to protect the mechanisms and particulars of that defamation, with your guarantee that Libby would never see prison, and, in so doing, as Ambassador Wilson himself phrased it here last night, of becoming an accessory to the obstruction of justice.

The Countdown, including informed commentary by David Shuster and constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley, was useful in itself; several of the perpetual ‘talking points’ – i.e. falsehoods – put around by the noise machine to downplay the CIA leak were rebutted again, not that rebuttal will stop the GOP, which to this day insists that “no crime was committed" – meaning that they claim obstruction of justice is not a crime.

[This summary also posted on my blog. MB]