I used to know the name of Judy Miller's dog. This was back in ... when was it exactly? Don't ask me for a date, because I can't quite recall when it was. But it was just a short time ago, really -- when Judy got out of jail. She traveled in a New York Times plane to New York, she spent a day or two failing to cooperate with her colleagues at the New York Times, she went to Sag Harbor to the American Hotel for dinner, and during that dinner her dog arrived by limousine. And for a brief moment in time, I knew that dog's name.
And now I have forgotten it.
So I have enormous sympathy for the people in the Scooter Libby case who can't remember the things they can't remember. And that goes for Judy, and Scooter, and Tim, and all the others who have been exposed at the trial as the senior citizens they are. I am especially sympathetic to Judy, who was ridiculed for admitting on the witness stand that she found a crucial notebook in an old shopping bag that she had forgotten about. You go girl! At least you found it! Which is more than I can say for the rest of us, who can't find anything.
But the saddest thing about this case is that we had high hopes for it. This wasn't one of the things you look at and absolutely know it's just a bookmark, a place keeper on cable news until a real news event comes along - like that woman astronaut with the diapers and pepper spray who lasted just two days this week, only to be wiped off the cycle by Anna Nicole Smith.
The Libby case was the real deal. The Libby case had legs. The Libby case was about WMD. The Libby case was going to be the truth about this White House -- about its obsession with spin, its gift for pulling focus, its pathological use of lies as a means to war. What's more, if we could just find out who was responsible for the orchestration of the leak of Valerie Plame's name, it seemed clear that it might turn out to be the key to one of the biggest mysteries of the Bush Presidency, a mystery that lingers even now: Who is President? Who is running this country? Truly we have no idea. We have no idea who was president in the early years of Bush II - although we thought we did, we thought we knew it was Cheney and Rove - and we have no idea now, as our President assures us in his bizarre, telltale way that he is the decider.
In the months when the case became a prosecutorial fishing expedition, we all had some hope that in the end Karl Rove would end up on the hook. (This seemed especially important at the time, may I remind you, because we believed that if we didn't get rid of Karl Rove before November 2006, the Republicans would once again win a rigged election. Hmmmm.) For a minute there, we even dared to dream of bringing down the big Kahuna, Dick Cheney. But the smoking gun never really materialized, and the trail instead led to Dick Armitage. The wrong Dick.
So now, almost two years later, we are stuck with a perjury case against Libby that never broke out of the Beltway; what's worse, it's ended up seeming to be mostly about journalism and journalists - a subject that is more boring to the country than tertiary sewage treatment plants.
This is a shame.
Meanwhile I am going to call up my friend who told me the name of Judy Miller's dog and see if I can worm it out of him.
If he hasn't forgotten it.