With Bush commuting Libby's sentence, shouldn't we expect an outcry from the same crowd who was looking to lynch Bill Clinton for lying about blowjobs....? Recall the constant refrain "rule of law" as well as "what will the children think"? Well, what does Bush's action towards Libby say about this administration's respect for the law, and what does it say to our children? Kids, crime pays if you have very influential friends to cover for you.
This news is not shocking in the least, and in fact I wrote on June 10th that Bush would not pardon Libby but rather commute the sentence. What does this dead-duck president have to lose, with his polls numbers so low that at this point they reflect only the most extreme far right kooks in the nation -- exactly the minority Bush is playing to these days. Not that he was ever trying to appeal to the more moderate citizens of this country, but these days his partisan leanings are just so nakedly obvious.
Stories in the press remind us Libby is the highest-ranking White House official ordered to prison since the Iran-Contra scandal -- another debacle occurring under a Republican president. Oh, and if memory serves, there were loads of pardons and commutations to follow that affair.
Also as a reminder, Judge Walton, who ruled that evidence of guilt against Libby was "overwhelming," was a Bush appointee, and the two of the three judges on the appeals court that ruled Libby should go straight to jail were Republican appointees. Yet, Bush and the far right still felt these judges were wrong, with Bush concerned that they damaged Libby's reputation forever. Poor, poor Libby, the world is against him, he had nothing to do with his actions, our system of laws only seems to work when not against Republicans.
I'll remind what Dick Polman wrote a few weeks ago:
So here’s the Republican bible on selective morality: If a high official of a Republican administration lies under oath and obstructs justice in order to impede a national security investigation, and to prevent a prosecutor from even determining whether an “underlying crime” had been committed,” that’s perfectly fine. But if a Democratic president lies under oath to impede a sex investigation (even when there was no underlying crime, since the sex with Monica Lewinsky was consensual, no illegal), those are sufficient grounds for throwing the president out of office – because, after all, perjury for any reason is not only wrong, it is also a violation of “the rule of law.”Lastly, Tim Dickinson writes:
[L]ook at the actual order Bush signed and it calls the presidential quasi-pardon by its real name: Clemency.This cabal is and has always been above the law. They answer to no one and serve only themselves.
Clemency is an emotive word. It appeals to our sense of mercy. Clemency is something we should give to the Georgia teenager whose girlfriend gave him head at a party and now is in prison for aggravated child molestation. It’s reserved for those instances where following the letter of the law creates a greater injustice than the crime.
Scooter covered up illicit actions at the highest levels of our government. Libby lied. Intentionally. To the F-B-fucking-I.
If you or I did that we’d be flirting with Gitmo.