Released from prison pending appeal by an appeals court that ruled "substantial questions of law or fact" place Siegelman's conviction in question, Siegelman returned to CBS's "60 Minutes" last night to make his case--including insisting that Rove should be called to testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his involvement.
And the Alabama Republican Party? We can't do better than to share the analysis by p3 correspondent Doctor TV, who notes that the smartest thing they could probably do is simply keep their mouths shut. Alas, the ALGOP didn't keep their mouths shut.
Next-smartest thing would be to say something in vague praise of our American judicial system and due process, blah, blah, blah--but otherwise stay neutral. Not as good as keeping quiet, but still not yet self-damaging. The Doctor suggested something along these lines:
We are sure that the former governor's family is relieved to have him at home. We are confident that our court system will see that justice is rendered in the case.
Alas, the ALGOP didn't make such a statement.
Least-smartest, but still not stupid, would have been to "do a McClelland," claiming that it wouldn't be appropriate to comment on the case while it's still under appeal. It wouldn't be terribly convincing under the circumstances, of course. And in any case you don't issue a statement like that, you wait until you're asked. But at least it would have gotten by, and wouldn't have been completely stupid and transparently vindictive, which is probably the minimum bar you'd want to clear in at a moment like this.
Alas, the ALGOP didn't even manage to clear the low bar.
The ALGOP, instead, decided to dive straight for stupid and vindictive. Here's the statement they released on Thursday:
For Immediate Release
March 27, 2008
Contact: Philip Bryan
ALGOP Response To Siegelman Release
Birmingham, AL – The Alabama Republican Party is disappointed in today’s ruling by the 11th Circuit Court and their decision to release former Governor Don Siegelman pending his appeal of the 6 counts of bribery and the 1 count of obstruction for which he was convicted.
Representative Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn), Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party stated “the former Governor’s release pending appeal does not change the conviction by a jury of his peers. It would be premature to turn this development into anything other than a formality.”
Shorter ALGOP: Hey, no fair! He can't appeal our frame! That's cheating!
(Thanks to Doctor TV.)