George W. Bush

Firing vs. Resignation: the message

As devoted viewers of the West Wing know, White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler did a bad thing: he leaked top secret information to a reporter.

The West Wing is a pretend show. And on the pretend show, the President didn't know Toby had done this. The President had, in fact, launched an investigation into who had done it. As had the Senate.

So this past week, Toby confessed to the crime. And he went to the President to tender his resignation. But the President shakes his head and says, "No. I have to fire you."

"I have to fire you."

When Bush was first asked by reporters what he'd do about the leaking of a covert CIA agent's identity, he said he'd fire the person.

Today, Scooter Libby resigned.

The message is clear, and it's one that the Democrats MUST capitalize upon: by allowing Scooter to resign (and for Cheney to express regret AT SCOOTER'S RESIGNATION), BushCo has made it clear that they are on the side of traitors to the nation, on the side of outing CIA agents, on the side of lying. And most importantly, it shows that BUSH IS NOT IN CHARGE and NOT A MAN OF HIS WORD.

Letting Scooter resign weakens the Bush White House even more than the entire Traitorgate investigation has, more than the Iraq war has, more than Harriet Miers has. It's weakness and lying, again and again.