New Word To Libby It Seems To Me That

New Word: “To libby”

It seems to me that we may have the makings of a new lexical entry, what with the indictment and resignation of Irving Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

It strikes me that “Libby” is close to “fib.” So “to libby” would have the connotations of “to tell a falsehood.” But it is also close to “lobby.” So the sense would be of lying for the purpose of convincing a large number of persons to adopt some policy that was bad for them. Thus, “the pitchman libbied his audience to buy snake oil as a way to treat their gout.” Or, “the mole libbied the public on behalf of a foreign power.” That could be definition 1 in those numbered entries at Merriam Webster.

The name is also close to “libel.” So it would have an overtone of launching a vindictive smear. “To retaliate for the critical review of the film, the director had the newspaper libbied.” Again, the sense would be that a persuasive falsehood was told, but here with the connotation of ruining someone’s career and reputation. This could be definition 2.

I’m sure there are other dimensions of the verb “to libby” that haven’t yet occurred to me.

The Los Angeles Times argues that the ordeal may not be over for Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney. I agree. A trial of Libby could yet throw up information that would spark further indictments. In fact, I take from Fitzgerald’s language on Friday that he actively envisages such a possibility. Cheney was one of four individuals who told Libby that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA. And, as Steve Gilliard picks up from Josh Marshall the canny insight that Cheney told Libby specifically that Plame Wilson was in a division in the Directorate of Operations. That is, any knowledgeable government official would immediately conclude that she was not a mere analyst but an undercover field officer.

For more insights:

Beyond Middle East Studies.

Did Bolton out Plame?

Tomdispatch.

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