Unlike many of you, my reaction to the commutation of Libby’s sentence yesterday was one of relief and confirmation, for if Bush actually had let Libby go to jail, I would have lost any little bit of respect for him I had left.
Tim and I talked about it, and he was befuddled- “Don’t you understand that Libby lied because he knew Bush would rescue him?”
Well, sure. But I think we have already decided that the Bush administration most closely resembles a crime family- the least John Gotti can do is keep his word to his underlings to do what he can to keep them out of trouble.
Omerta, after all.
PS, Right Wingers- I don’t care if you think he should not have been tried, I don’t care if you think it was Armitage who should be tried, I don’t care if you think Plame was not underdover and there was no underlying crime, etc. The simple fact of the matter is he was tried and convicted of perjury, and Bush commuted his sentence. Let history be the judge.
Let’s not let history be the judge. Making an administrastion like Dubya’s pay the price — whether through impeachment hearings, investigations, or simply making all the neocon, rightwing extremists irrelevant for the next 50 years — is our moral imperative to make sure the correct example is set for future generations.
If I understand the legal issues correctly, a commutation has the curious side effect of allowing The Scoot to plead the fifth when asked to testify about anything related to his case. That is, a commutation is better at protecting the POTUS and Vice-POTUS (and underlings) from investigation.
To believe that this is anything but coincidence would be shrill paranoia.
Bill Arnold makes exactly the right point.
The commutation keeps Scooter from making a deal with the prosecutors and also keeps him from testifying before Congress. This development has nothing to do with loyalty or justice or keeping one’s word. It’s all about the cover-up.
Bush to the Rule of Law: Drop Dead!
The president has the power to commute sentences as he sees fit. If you want to call for an amendment to get rid of that power I can see some good arguments in favor. But in the meantime this is hardly a big outrage. Unless we are to call any use of clemency a statement of “drop dead” to the legal system.
The issue’s over, the benefit of the plame case was never going to be jail time for the real criminals. the benefit was shining a spotlight on the Bush administration’s dirty dealing. Mission accomplished. Rather than freaking out about what is actually something bush is well within his rights to do it is time to refocus on the warrantless wiretapping, the justice department firings, signing statements, and other issues where bush clearly exceeded what he is allowed to do by the constitution/relevant laws.
Getting shrill on this issue is a loser for progressives because as much as you might hate it bush did nothing legally wrong here. Ethically may be another matter, but so long as their are apparent *legal* wrongs to investigate the ethical wrongs are small potatos.
Well, they’ve been saying that for a while, haven’t they? Which was always a clue that they didn’t think they could actually justify their actions, only that they were pretty confident that history would be written by the people who benefitted most from those actions.
Red Chinese Masters, I tell you. Mr Burns was right.
This wasn’t just “any” use of clemency. How many days of jail time has President Bush used his pardon powers to reduce up to this point? I think it’s probably zero. With respect to his role in overseeing 152 death sentences in Texas, he had this to say:
Now, suddenly, he commutes Scooter’s sentence because it was “too harsh.” It’s a load of howling nonsense. From here until 2009, Scooter should be a big old albatross hung around the neck and any other federal politician who tries to pretend that Bush isn’t full of crap on this one.
My favorite argument on why the Right Wing hearts Bush’s abuse of justice is that Clinton was worse… yep, the old “Well Clinton pardoned worse people” meme is making its way around even though it doesn’t have any links to this specific issue…
I am going to start using this at work…
“John, did you get that budget balanced?”
“No sir, I did not but neither did Clinton.”
The Other Steve
I welcome our new Bush overlords!
“my reaction to the commutation of Libby’s sentence yesterday was one of relief and confirmation, for if Bush actually had let Libby go to jail, I would have lost any little bit of respect for him I had left.”
I didn’t realize it until I read your post, but that is also exactly how I feel. If he’d allowed Libby to go to prison, it would have meant that he was serious about having an independent investigation, a genuine trial and was willing to let the rule of law determine the results.
In other words, my whole conception of the Bush presidency would have been somehow dented. Now it’s still pathetically shiny.
“This wasn’t just “any” use of clemency. How many days of jail time has President Bush used his pardon powers to reduce up to this point?”
“Now, suddenly, he commutes Scooter’s sentence because it was “too harsh.” It’s a load of howling nonsense.”
Maybe but the president is quite frankly given carte blanch power to pardon or commute anyone for any reason, except in the case of impeachment. That’s the only constraint on this presidential power, which means bush’s use of it is entirely acceptable from a legal and constitutional standpoint.
Meanwhile there are several administration actions which are pretty clearly huge violations of legal or constitutional rules. Focus on those. Those will constitute the albatross if anything.
Don’t forget about Obstruction of Justice please. Minor detail, I know, but important.
While Dr. Johnson’s remark about not wasting criticism on idiots remains as relevant as ever, I can’t resist quoting another statement by Blogs4Brownback (aka Psycheout) on his own blog (as quoted by a stupefied Andrew Sullivan): “President Bush has made the correct decision. It makes me so proud to be an American. Justice prevails in the face of an overzealous prosecutor who wanted to punish Lewis Libby simply for being a Republican.” Yup. As Orin Kerr on the right-wing “Volokh Conspiracy” legal site (among many others) points out: how dare that Republican prosecutor (named by one of Bush’s own Justice Department appointees) and that Republican judge (named by Bush himself) punish Lewis Libby simply for being a Republican?
Of course, Martin Peretz has just finished making the same flabbergasting statement on his own blog (and being jumped by his own New Republic writers). In short, given the national supply of cretins of this caliber, it’s a reasonably safe bet that Bush’s popularity will never drop below 25%, even if he’s shown eating a live baby on television.
If Bush had pardoned him, I’d say you had a point, but I’ll bet he did it just to keep Libby from talking.
The Other Steve
I got one thing to say…
Even in commuting the sentence, Bush proves to be totally fucking utterly incompetent.
I’m actually glad he pardoned the Libbster.
Bush has already placed all the needed nails in the Republicans coffin.
He is now in the process of burying “dem somes of %*(&&”
The Bush presidency will be a dead corpse around the Republicans necks for the next 20 years.
I expected nothing less of him.
Wasn’t Scooter Marc Rich’s attorney and helped him get that pardon from Clinton that the right so lovingly rehashes every 5 minutes?
Man, these people have no respect for the law!
I got as worked up over Libby’s pardons as I did over Clinton’s, or Bush the elder’s. That is to say, I don’t really care. The Constitutions grants the president the power to pardon and/or commute sentences. Whatever my opinions are on such acts are irrelevant: they have the power to do it and they did it. End of story.
If anyone has a problem with that, feel free to petition for a constitutional amendment. That’s the only way that future presidents will be prevented from acts such as this one.