Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Libby Case Email Feedback...

A reader emails:
"Sorry, I must at this time disagree with your conclusion on a Libby pardon. Think both compassion and politics.
"I feel certain Dubya has already assured Scooter and his family that he will not serve even one day in jail. In the meantime, while unlikely to happen, Scooter may obtain an appeal. If not, Dubya still has plenty of time to issue a pardon .... while at the same time the Jefferson bribery case continues.
"I personally feel that Fitzgerald has been totally wrong in pursuing this case against Libby and should, himself, be removed from office. He is just about capable of being a D.A. in Durham, N.C."

My response:
You have more confidence in Bush on this matter than I do. When the campaign finance (McCain-Feingold) was being written in the Senate, Bush said he would veto it because it was unconstitutional. When it passed and he signed it, his reasoning was... it was unconstitutional and (passing the buck) that the Supreme Court would strike it down. Well the Supreme Court didn't and now we have a bad law, one that has infringed on free speech.

In the Libby case, the presiding Judge Walton refused yesterday to hear arguments for Libby remaining free while the appeal process goes forward. Which means he will likely go to jail in 30 to 60 days. So, Bush really doesn't have plenty of time. A pardon following the completion of the appeals process, after spending 18 months in jail (come post election November 2008) is scant relief To Mr. Libby. If he deserves a pardon, then do it now. Indeed, Bush should have pardoned him right after the trial. Heck, it was the Bush Administration's passing of the buck to a special prosecutor that was the first lapse of judgment and responsibility in this political storm that has been parading as a criminal investigation. Compassion really isn't the issue in my mind. That is simply how Bush's press office framed their response ("the President feels sad for Mr. Libby and his family"). I was merely playing off of that in my post of yesterday.

In my mind a pardon would serve both justice (which IS the issue) and politics (help shore up his base which has been deserting him over immigration and ineptitude at the Justice Dept.)... that is, if he does it now. By waiting until he is leaving office to pardon Mr. Libby, President Bush shows lack of strength, courage, loyalty, justice... and, oh yeah, compassion.

I hope I am wrong and Bush issues a full pardon ASAP.

Update (6-7-07): William Otis, former Special Counselor to President George H.W. Bush (dad), has another approach to how President George W. Bush should handle the Libby issue of pardoning him or not. His recommendation is partial commutation of the sentence.

Update (6-8-07):
Over at The Wall Street Journal Fouad Ajami of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins lends support to my views above.

Update (6-10-07): William Kristol addressed the President regarding a Libby pardon over at The Weekly Standard in an article entitled Don't Feel Terrible, Mr. President.

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