Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Bush Pardons Libby? Wouldn't We Be More Shocked If He Didn't?

There is an ad currently running on Comedy Central for David Spade's show in which the comic says that Michael Jackson is having a 50 foot robot of himself built which will roam the desert shooting laser beams from it's eyes. He then asks the viewer, "Wouldn't we be more shocked if he didn't?"

Looking around the net this morning and perusing a few of the thousands of "will Bush pardon Scooter?" stories, that ad kept popping into my mind.

I think that Bush will pardon Scooter, I will be shocked if he doesn't, the real question, for me, is when?

You can be sure the question is being discussed in hushed tones in the West Wing this morning, but the hand wringing is audible out here in the heartland.

"Obviously, there'd be a significant political price to pay," said William P. Barr, who as attorney general to President George H.W. Bush remembers the controversy raised by the post-election pardons for several Iran-contra figures in 1992. "I personally am very sympathetic to Scooter Libby. But it would be a tough call to do it at this stage."

In the West Wing, Pardon Is A Topic Too Sensitive to Mention
By Peter Baker - Washington Post

My guess is that the administration is at this very moment pulling out all the stops to gain bail for the poor abused family man and pillar of the community pending his appeal, which, with some luck, will take Cheney/Bush to the end of the term when Bush can issue the pardon just before the oval office door closes behind him.

If they don't succeed in influencing the court to allow bail, Bush will probably be forced to pardon him. I may be wrong but I don't think Scooter will remain silent through a long stay in prison.

At the same time, some White House advisers said the president's political troubles are already so deep that a pardon might not be so damaging. Those most upset by the CIA leak case that led to the Libby conviction already oppose Bush, they noted. "You can't hang a man twice for the same crime," a Republican close to the White House said.

In the West Wing, Pardon Is A Topic Too Sensitive to Mention
By Peter Baker - Washington Post

I like that kind of reasoning, it's just what I've learned to expect from this White House, indeed from government in general, the predictably pragmatic cynicism that these guys don every morning with their silk ties, expensive suits and anchorman hairpieces. It's never an issue of right or wrong, what matters is will we be damaged politically?...How badly?...Is it manageable?... How long will Scooter have to stay in Sicily before this blows over? Wait that was Pacino.

The reaction from the White House: Dana Perino told reporters that the president felt sad for Libby's family but would have no further comment about the case, the sentence or the possibility of a pardon at this time.

From the War Room by Tim Grieve at Salon

As I said there are thousands of articles this morning on the "Pardon, will he or won't he?" question, a Technorati blog search returned over 4800 and though I probably won't try to read them all but I'd like to share my two favorites so far. First from Booman:

Just what might justify pardoning Scooter Libby? I mean, if you are George W. Bush, what principles would you rely upon to rationalize the neutering of the judicial process? The jury was clear, the judge was clear, the case was clear...Scooter Libby intentionally and knowingly lied and obstructed an investigation, which is quite clearly a crime. The federal government payed a great deal of money to investigate the Plame Affair and jurors (grand, and otherwise) dedicated months of their lives to ascertaining the facts. The Justice system did its job and concluded that Scooter Libby deserves to do two and a half years in prison for the crimes that he committed. If you are going to wipe that away, you must have some theory about how, ultimately, this sentence is a miscarriage of justice.

From Booman Tribune by Booman

Booman makes a good argument that the government, having concluded that a crime was committed is going to expect someone to pay, if that person is not Scooter than the crime must lie at the feet of those he lied to protect, Cheney? Bush?

He concludes:

No matter how you look at it, there is no way to justify pardoning Scooter Libby without it being an admission of guilt by the President.

Any innocent President would be furious with Libby and wouldn't pardon him in a million years.

But Bush is not innocent. Libby lied for the President. And if Bush pardons Libby then we will know for certain that the President himself is the one that should be doing jail time for the crime that Libby covered up.

From Booman Tribune by Booman

I got my first good laugh of the day over Marty Kaplan's plaintive snarky plea for a pardon at Huffington Post:

I want Bush to pardon Libby.

I want every Republican candidate running for President and Congress to be forced to applaud Libby's pardon and to inscribe their names alongside Scooter's other distinguished defenders, from Rumsfeld to Bolton.

I want American history to possess forever a crystalline illustration of Cheney's whack-ball theory of the unitary executive exempt from the rule of law.

I want the persistent presidential nullification of the Constitution to be perpetually exemplified by an unambiguous act of unmistakable arrogance.

I want Scooter Libby's fate to be be ironically and irrevocably linked to Paris Hilton.

From Pardon Me by Marty Kaplan at Huff Post

In the grand scheme of things I don't know whether it matters but yes he should go to jail and the sentence should be significant, after all we like to discourage our senior people from lying to those who might have occasion to investigate their bosses, or do we?

Scooter is a big boy, a lawyer I believe. He knew every step of the way what he was doing, he was aware at once, while he did it, in real time, each time he lied, obstructed and worked to thwart the investigation.

He has not admitted guilt, nor has he offered to do what is the right thing for the country and tell the truth about the entire affair, the reasons for the character assassination of Joe Wilson and the outing of his wife and the various roles played by everyone involved including his bosses. The right thing for history would be to explain to the people who paid his not insignificant salary why he and his bosses felt that lies had to be told to insure our involvement in a war with Iraq.

It may be that Scooter will look at this as a post graduate course in being a stand up guy and despite the trauma to his family keep his chin up and do the time while preparing for a lucrative career on the wing nut lecture circuit or perhaps start a ministry of his own.

That approach seems to have panned out well for Charles Colson, Gordon Liddy and others convicted during the Watergate era.

He, like those before him will walk out of prison and into the arms of the largest and best funded of prison support groups. An entire wing of his party has dedicated itself to helping formerly incarcerated Republicans regain their rightful place in the halls of privilege and power.

These guys stick together.

Bob Higgins

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