Liberal furor over Bush's use of executive power to commute Scooter Libby's sentence is great. I love it.
One thing most of these comments ignore is that the president did not pardon Libby. He commuted his sentence. The man still is on probation and must pay a $250,000 fine. For those of you who can't count zeros, that's a quarter of a million dollars.
Just so this is framed correctly in your mind, all of this is coming on the heels of a case about a leak of a CIA operative's name who wasn't covert who was playing political games with nepotism by pushing to get her husband a job on an otherwise sensitive diplomatic mission. And the best part is, Libby isn't even charged with leaking the name -- only "obstruction of justice" and perjury. Its a game of gotcha; the investigation has yielded no results, other than sufficiently harassing and questioning and re-questioning a member of the Bush administration until they caught him in a lie.
To make matters worse, the judge presiding over the case ignored federal sentencing guidelines, giving Libby 30 months of jail time in addition to his quarter million dollar fine and probation, all of these well over the maximum suggested punishments.
This is justice?
Anyway the best part about all of it is the liberal talking point that Bush's actions somehow turn topsy-turvy the "Rule of Law". The reason they can say this is because the president's actions follow the law the Left is most likely to ignore, subvert, pervert, or otherwise misapply -- the US Constitution. Other folks recognize it as the law of the land, and understand that when it says "The President ... shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment" that his actions are well in line with the rule of law. Now re-read some of these.
I intentionally put Reid's last; its the only relatively coherent one. He recognizes that the rule of law is not being subverted with this, and instead is simply rendering his own judgment. I do find the last bit interesting though -- "such a serious violation of law". Which part, I wonder, does he find serious? Perjury? Because, as we all know, the Democrat Savior of the World (not to be confused with his Prophet, Al Gore) perjured himself in front of a grand jury. I don't recall Bill Clinton serving jail time for the exact same crime. In fact, he also never paid a fine, or even went on probation. To my knowledge, he never even apologized.
"In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing." - Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
"It is time for the American people to be heard - I call for all Americans to flood the White House with phone calls tomorrow expressing their outrage over this blatant disregard for the rule of law." - Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.
"When it comes to the law, there should not be two sets of rules - one for President Bush and Vice President Cheney and another for the rest of America. Even Paris Hilton had to go to jail. No one in this administration should be above the law." - Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
"The Constitution gives President Bush the power to commute sentences, but history will judge him harshly for using that power to benefit his own vice president's chief of staff who was convicted of such a serious violation of law." - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Hillary Clinton came out swinging, offering this:
"This commutation sends the clear signal that in this administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice." - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.which is so ironic I don't think I could read it aloud without gagging, or laughing, or both. Safe to say it would be hazardous to my health to attempt it.
Drudge conveniently posted a link to the Department of Justice list of Bill Clinton's pardons...and it generally doesn't pertain to people who perjured themselves in a non-investigation investigation. A short scan brings up such reasonable cases for pardon such as
- Mail fraud
- Counterfeiting Federal Reserve notes
- Distribution of narcotics (marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines all make the list)
- And...you guessed it... obstruction of justice!
Edit: I was so busy laughing at the left that I forgot to include my own opinion on the pardon -- I'll make it brief. Bush is fine, in my opinion, with commuting Libby's sentence. I tend to be a rule follower when it comes to public action, and I think the Libby was wrong to lie under oath, no ifs, ands or buts. However, it does annoy me that Bush has a double standard when it comes to pardons. Namely, border patrol agents Ramos and Compean (brief link here) who are still in jail for doing nothing wrong. Johnny Sutton put them in jail and let a drug dealer go free -- and his office has a history of unreasonably
Bush said he would let their appeals go through, let the justice system run its course before he even considered the case. Where is that same standard now? Why is Libby free while Ramos and Compean are rotting away in prison? The difference is significant as Libby was to go to jail for something he actually did wrong.
I don't like the double standard.