When your fifteen minutes of fame are finished and you've also burned through your wife's fifteen, is it possible to get a few more moments of publicity through the magic of frivolous litigation? It is! Thanks to a suit filed today (see here for an article or here for the pleadings), we will all enjoy the comedy stylings of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame for a bit longer.
The couple allege that Vice-President Dick Cheney, Presidential Advisor Karl Rove, Administration Official Scooter Libby, and ten other "John Doe" defendants conspired to discredit Wilson's criticisms of the Administrations activities and policies prior to the Iraq War and to expose the identity of his wife, Plame, who was a CIA employee. I don't envy their attorneys' lots in life over the next several months as they try to prove those allegations. Did Cheney, Rove, Libby, and the plethora of Does work behind the scenes to discredit Wilson? If so, they didn't need to work particularly hard -- Wilson was busy in front of the scenes discrediting himself. Did these minions of evil expose Plame's identity? Not to Robert Novak, who wrote the column which started the whole affair -- as he wrote this week, "I learned Valerie Plame's name from Joe Wilson's entry in Who's Who in America."
Professor Chris Borgen, writing at the Opino Juris blog, probably calls it right: "It will be interesting to see how much the court paper read like a standard retaliation suit or whether they will turn on the issue of when/whether the Vice President is able to declassify information. Probably a bit of both." Captain's Quarters blogger Ed Morrissey anticipates "a splendid opportunity to ask Plame under threat of perjury" about the many loose ends in the entire "Yellowcake" kerfuffle. For my part, I'm just looking forward to the theatre of it all. Joe Wilson is to politics what Paris Hilton is to the arts -- incredibly tacky and utterly disposable entertainment to fill the down time during those commercial breaks between summer reruns.