First some background: Back in the relatively innocent days of Watergate, tape recordings in the Oval Office revealed Nixon channeling Ike Ferguson’s advice to his co-conspirators when he told them how to tailor grand jury testimony. “You say, ‘I don’t remember.’ You can say, ‘I can’t recall. I can’t give an answer to that, that I can recall,’” said Nixon.
Ike Ferguson’s clever hand was guiding the defense of notorious Republican supporter Ken Lay. Kenny-boy, as he was called by his buddy, Dumb Dubya, testified in his own trial, and said he didn't remember being told about any rules governing the use of loan money by banks to buy stock.
I don't recall them ever coming to my attention we were not in compliance with any of those loan agreements. I can't categorically say somebody didn't, but I sure can't recall.Of course, it was not the first time that a corporate criminal took his cues from the indomitable Ike Ferguson.
Dumb Dubya himself was in a tight spot when he dumped a bunch of Harken stock just before it announced an unexpected loss. This could have been a problem because Dumb Dubya was a director and member of the firm’s audit committee. Sounds like insider trading, doesn’t it?
Well, as it happens there are laws about that, and one requires that an insider’s sales of stock has to be reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Bush didn’t do this until eight months after the required deadline, but as he explained, he didn’t know about Harken’s impending financial disaster, and he “simply forgot” to file the SEC reports.
Ike Ferguson was an important architect of the Scooter Libby defense team. Back on May 27th, 2006, I reported “Scooter Libby claimed that his misstatements regarding conversations he had with Judy Miller, Joe Cooper and Tim Russert are the products of a faulty memory.” Actually, Scooter didn’t claim this in his trial, since committing perjury at your trial for perjury is just a bad idea. But his lawyers were clearly following Ike Ferguson’s playbook.
Lo, these many years later, King George the Incompetent is still employing the services of Ike Ferguson. Today, March 21st, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow responded to questions about the politically motivated firing of U.S. Attorneys. Here’s what he had to say:
The president has no recollection of this ever being raised with him.Maybe it’s time to reveal where this legal genius, Ike Ferguson came from.
Many years ago, a young German Jew immigrated to this country. His family sent him off with very little material goods but with plenty of advice. When he came to Ellis Island, he became thoroughly baffled and confused by the noise and cacaphony of the main processing building. When at last he stood before the immigration officer's desk, hat in hand, the immigration officer barked at him: “Name?”
The young man’s disorientation was so great that he could not recall even his own name. And so he replied, “Ich vergesse!” [fn. 1]
The overworked immigration officer, unperturbed, says, “Right! Ike Ferguson! Next!” and waved the young man on...
“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”
[fn. 1] For the Yiddishly challenged, “Ich vergesse!” means, “I forget!”