Scooter Libby- Two wrongs
If you're a blogger and haven't heard this news, you must not be very attentive.
WASHINGTON -- I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, will not be going to jail for lying in the CIA leak probe after all.The reaction of both the left and right blogosphere has been predictable, the right cheering this decision. Sister Toldjah, Don Surber, Betsy, Bullwinkle, and Jay at Wizbang to name a few. Most have made the predictable comparisons to the last minute and mostly wrong pardons of President Clinton, that they some how make the commutation of Libby's sentence all right.
Libby was so close to being imprisoned that last Wednesday he was assigned inmate number 28301-016.
But in a highly unusual and controversial move, President George W. Bush commuted Libby's 30-month sentence after an appellate panel Monday rejected Libby's request to delay the start of his jail time while he appealed his March jury conviction.
"I respect the jury's verdict," Bush said in a statement. "But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive."
In announcing a commutation that experts did not expect so soon, Bush said Libby will still have to face "harsh punishment," including a $250,000 fine, two years probation, and damage to his reputation and family suffering.
"The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant and private citizen will be long-lasting," Bush said.
It doesn't. A jury found Libby guilty, a judge sentenced him. Bush didn't pardon Libby, just excused him for serving time in jail. In other words Bush agrees with the verdict.
So he should have butted out. Unless the President feels the need to review every federal sentence handed down. Steve Verdon at OTB lists some convicted federal felons who are far more deserving of a commutation than Libby is. Is Bush going to step in on those cases also? I doubt it, Bush clearly did this out of favoritism of a political variety. Just as President Clinton in all probability pardoned Mark Rich in return for campaign contributions. Neither President was right, and why certain bloggers can't see this..... partisanship makes people blind when it comes to their own party's sins and crimes. Just like it did for President Bush.
That Richard Armitage wasn't indicted, may be wrong. Then the right's anger should be focused on Mr. Fitzgerald for not pursuing that case. Instead most use it as an argument that Libby did no wrong and his sentence wasn't justified. A jury thought otherwise, and so did the President. If you agree with Mr. Bush's commutation, you have to be agreeing with the verdict against Mr. Libby. So he's guilty, and therefore the Armitage excuse doesn't wash.
That's my own take on the matter. Others blogging on the verdict- Dr. Taylor at Poliblog, James Joyner at OTB, Alex at SOTP, Below the Beltway, Iowa Voice, Cao, California Conservative, Bright & Early, Gay Patriot, A Blog for All, Uncorrelated, Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy,