Here's Newt with Russert recently:
MR. RUSSERT: But do you, do you regret pressing the impeachment of President Clinton so hard?
FMR. REP. GINGRICH: President—you know, I’m—I’ve been divorced twice.
Both times I’ve been deposed. Both times I was told, “Perjury is a felony. You should tell the truth under deposition.” President Clinton lied under oath as a lawyer in front of a sitting federal judge in a civil rights case. This was not about his personal behavior in the Oval Office. That’s a matter of judgment, and people can render judgment. The question is, do you want to go down the road of Nigeria and corruption and have a country in which, as long as he’s popular, he can break the law? And if Clinton gets to commit perjury on this topic, then what does the next president get to commit perjury on, and then what does the next president get to commit perjury on? This was entirely about something I knew personally. We have an obligation as citizens to tell the truth to a federal judge under oath. The president failed that.
The Newtster does make an interesting point - and Clinton DID look at the camera and said I never diddled that woman with a cigar. A lie under oath - and to the American people - is certainly serious business, and people are right to criticize.
That said, three important points:
1. Clinton's behavior didn't hurt anyone, outside of his family.
2. This same standard should be applied to the Bush administration, particularly Dick Cheney, and the rationale used for the run-up to the war, and long after. For Dubya, I tend to give him a break; he's an empty suit and only recites what others tell him to say.
3. I've heard ONE conservative commentator* say that Libby got what he deserved. The double standard here is incredible. The dems are no better on this score, so I'm not defending the dem position. What I am saying is this: the reeps are beyond outrageous. Its this attitude that led to their defeat in 2006, and for the reeps taking the mantle as the party of whackos and misfits.
*David Brooks on the News Hour last night said Libby deserved his punishment. He then went on to say that despite Libby's lies and obstructions, his intent was only to correct Joe Wilson's lies. LOL.