Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Taking A Libby-eral Interpretation

Who said this?
My opinion is I will -- should I decide to grant pardons, I will do so in a fair way. I'll have the highest of high standards.
Yes, George W. Bush said that.

Thus, we have learned this morning that those "highest of high standards" are about as high off the ground as a burqa. But let not my words speak. Let's let the highest of high (*snark*) authorities speak on this:

"When he was running for president, George W. Bush loved to contrast his law-abiding morality with that of President Clinton, who was charged with perjury and acquitted."

"For Mr. Bush, the president ... untarnished ideals are less of a priority than protecting the secrets of his inner circle and mollifying the tiny slice of right-wing Americans left in his political base."

Mr. Bush's assertion that he respected the verdict but considered the sentence excessive only underscored the way this president is tough on crime when it's committed by common folk ... As president, he has repeatedly put himself and those on his team, especially Mr. Cheney, above the law."


"There were mitigating factors in this case. After two years of investigation, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald charged no one with a crime for leaking (CIA operative Valerie) Plame's name; he never demonstrated that a crime occurred."

"It's true that the felony conviction that remains in place, the $250,000 fine and the reputational damage are far from trivial. But so is lying to a grand jury. To commute the entire prison sentence sends the wrong message about the seriousness of that offense."


"By failing to issue a full pardon, Mr. Bush is evading responsibility for the role his administration played in letting the Plame affair build into fiasco and, ultimately, this personal tragedy."

"This ... will stand as a dark moment in this administration's history."

"Mr. Bush's commutation statement yesterday is another profile in non-courage ... Mr. Libby deserved better from the president whose policies he tried to defend when others were running for cover."
(ed. note: and that's BEFORE Murdoch owns this rag!)
Unfortunately for jurisprudence and for the future of American democracy, this action cannot be undone. The authority to grant pardons and commute sentences rests with the President, and no authority in this country can overrule him.

One has to ask oneself why Dumbya suddenly decided to take such a liberal interpretation of the legal system and a verdict that was fair, and a sentence that, while harsh, was not unduly burdensome to Libby. I mean, Paris Hilton served a whole three days before she was released from prison and that was for merely driving with a suspended license. You mean to tell me that a man who lies not only to the FBI, but to a Federal prosecutor, even if that lie was to cover up no crime (he was convicted for lying about how he knew Plame was a covert CIA operative, not for lies related to the leak of her name to the press), deserves less than three days in the hoosegow?

Apparently. Remember that this is a man, Dumbya, who was loathe to pardon anyone after a 1998 pardon, while governor, of a cocaine dealer blew up in his face. This is a man who laughed while Karla Faye Tucker was killed in a Texas execution room.

A "tough on crime" man, right?

When did Republicans suddenly become the soft-on-crime liberals they chided and derided for forty years? When did Republicans suddenly become the "mommy party," filled with sympathy and empathy and compassion? And when will they finally drop the facade of being tough old birds and start showing some of that compassion to the people who really need it: the poor, the sick, the war-torn victims of the nations they've raped and pillaged?

The one bright spot in all this is it will force the GOP Presidential candidate in 2008 to step up and excuse and explain yet another Bush corruption, thus neatly tying the entire party to an administration that it was enthralled to like crack addicts.

The overarching question though is, why would Bush do this? Is this an admission on his part that the ballgame's over, and that he has to work now to protect what pitiful legacy he'll leave (I think when the dust settles, Bush will be rated somewhere on a par with the Roman emperor Nero as a leader of a great power)? Is it simply an acknowledgement that he is so out of touch with the average American that he can do as he pleases and remain secure in his delusion that history will bear him out (see above)?

Decisions like this are more troubling for what they don't say than what they do say.