The Washington Post has an editorial that declares the Plame affair official old news. With the revelation that there was no organized campaign to leak Plame’s name as part of some sinister conspiracy, the mainstream media is finally catching on to what many blogger have known since the beginning:
It follows that one of the most sensational charges leveled against the Bush White House — that it orchestrated the leak of Ms. Plame’s identity to ruin her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson — is untrue. The partisan clamor that followed the raising of that allegation by Mr. Wilson in the summer of 2003 led to the appointment of a special prosecutor, a costly and prolonged investigation, and the indictment of Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, on charges of perjury. All of that might have been avoided had Mr. Armitage’s identity been known three years ago.
Of course, even Bob Novak had said as much from the very beginning — remember that Novak had said that his source was “no partisan gunslinger” — and that description is a fairly accurate description of Mr. Armitage. Armitage was a frequent opponent of the President’s policies on Iraq, and certainly wasn’t part of some organized conspiracy to discredit or smear Wilson.
Who is ultimately the biggest loser in all this? Once again, the former Ambassador Wilson comes off looking as shady as ever:
Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame’s CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming — falsely, as it turned out — that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush’s closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It’s unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.
At the risk of saying I told you so, I told you so. And so did nearly everyone else in the blogosphere who actually took the time and effort to analyze Wilson’s ever-shifting claims. The excessively partisan press smelled blood in the water and created a feeding frenzy only to find less and less the more they thrashed. You had The New York Times indignantly implicating the Bush White House in some sort of sinister conspiracy. You had unhinged liberal bloggers accusing Karl Rove of nothing less than treason. This was supposed to be the scandal that would finally take down the President — and like al-Qaaqaa, the Downing Street Memos, Bush supposedly going AWOL, Cheney’s energy task force, and the rest, Wilson’s attempts to take down the Bush Administration will soon be consigned to the memory of only the most feverish detractors of the Administration.
Bush may not be bulletproof, but the silliness of all these blatantly partisan attempts at taking Bush down show how the Washington Democratic establishment and the left wing of the blogosphere seem infinitely more interested in taking down the President than they do in winning the war with Islamic extremism.