Junior Gets One Right

Well, we rake him over the coals when he’s wrong (which is most of the time), so we have to praise him when he gets it right – this time he got it right by condoning criminal conduct and commuting Scooter’s sentence.

TOP US Democrats condemned as “disgraceful” and a “betrayal” President George W. Bush’s decision today to commute the jail term of former senior White House aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

“The President’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence does not serve justice, condones criminal conduct, and is a betrayal of trust of the American people,” Nancy Pelosi, Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, said in a statement.

Mr Bush commuted the 30-month jail term imposed on Libby for lying to federal investigators in a case over an outed spy which highlighted doubts about the administration’s case for the war in Iraq.

Ms Pelosi’s condemnation echoed that of the other top Democrat in Congress, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.

“The President’s decision to commute Mr Libby’s sentence is disgraceful,” Mr Reid said.

“Libby’s conviction was the one faint glimmer of accountability for White House efforts to manipulate intelligence and silence critics of the Iraq war.

“Now, even that small bit of justice has been undone,” Mr Reid said in a statement.

Heh. Condoning criminal conduct? That’s what the Senate does day-in and day-out as we learned last week.

Why not a full pardon asks JG?

This falls short of a pardon — and I suppose there’s still a chance that Bush will grant Libby the full pardon before exiting the White House, should Libby lose his appeal on the conviction. But if the President was going to take the kind of sustained heat he’s about to get from the press and Congressional Democrats, anyway — and believe me, they’ll be falling over themselves to get in front of a camera to talk about the Republican culture of corruption — he should have just done the right thing and pardoned Libby completely.

And yes, I believe a pardon is the right move, and that commuting the sentence is just another in the most recent string of Bush compromises. On the other hand, from a pragmatic perspective, it keeps alive the possibility that Libby succeeds in his appeal, so it’s not a bad political gamble, all things considered.

Baby steps, Junior, baby steps.


  1. You know, I seem to remember Pelosi decrying the ridiculously lenient sentence of Sandy Berger for STEALING DOCUMENTS out of the National Archives and Bill Clinton’s pardon of crook and tax evader Marc Rich with the exacty same vociferousness.

    I seem to remember that, but perhaps that was the week I tried crack for the first (and only) time…

  2. A pardon wouldn’t allow Libby to clear his name.

    Also during the appeals, it will possible (but not likely) to get Wilson and Plame for perjury (since each lied on more than one occasion to either congress or a jury).

    If Libby loses his appeals, bet a dozen donuts he’ll get his pardon.

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