When I was in high school I sat and watched the Iran-Contra hearings. After lengthy investigations and a lot of testimony, I learned one of the most valuable political lessons. I call it the William Casey Defense. Much of the Iran-Contra scandal was laid at Casey’s feet, but he was incapacitated with a brain tumor and unable to testify to either his guilt or innocence. The William Casey defense is simple. No matter what happens, blame it on the dead guy. Any time a scandal rocks an administration, the blame for everything is ultimately laid at his doorstep.
Through subsequent administrations, I revised the defense. It still carries the name of the man who bore the brunt of my political education, but now allows you to blame the guy that was fired, asked to resign, or left in shame. Many reputations have been ruined in the name of protecting the guy at the top. It’s kind of a sick world we work in.
Now the Casey Defense is being brought to bear on Kyle Sampson. Tomorrow he’ll sit before Congress and get the third degree. Today the Department of Justice turned over a series of e-mails blaming everything on the former Chief of Staff. He has quibbled with the department’s portrayal of his firing. They say he stepped down because he failed to give his boss important information and as a result Congress was misled. He claims he stepped down because he failed to anticipate the crap-storm that this has become.
Having been on the receiving end of the Casey Defense once, I feel sorry for Sampson. However, I think he really is getting what’s coming tomorrow. He pursued the termination of good and decent people simply because they wouldn’t dance for their master. For that, he’ll hang. The real tragedy is that in this case, the Casey Defense may yet again protect those who were responsible.