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Entirely predictable

George Bush commuted Scooter Libby’s prison sentence today:

President Bush spared former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby from a 2 1/2-year prison term on Monday, issuing an order that commutes his sentence…Bush left intact a $250,000 fine and two years probation for Libby.

So, Paris Hilton ends up serving more jail time then Scooter Libby, who didn’t even put a foot in jail for being convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury. As I said, I’m not surprised; Libby was the cover-up guy for Bush and Cheney, so to think they’d not reward him for his taking a bullet for them isn’t surprising. One thing though that has been raising eyebrows already is that Bush acted unusually quickly in making sure Scooter didnt serve jail-time; look at the Dept. Of Justice manual on commutations:

Section 1-2.113 Standards for Considering Commutation Petitions

A commutation of sentence reduces the period of incarceration; it does not imply forgiveness of the underlying offense, but simply remits a portion of the punishment. It has no effect upon the underlying conviction and does not necessarily reflect upon the fairness of the sentence originally imposed. Requests for commutation generally are not accepted unless and until a person has begun serving that sentence. Nor are commutation requests generally accepted from persons who are presently challenging their convictions or sentences through appeal or other court proceeding.

Libby hasn’t done any time yet, and he is also appealing, but that didn’t stop Bush from issuing his commutation; this coming from a President who has granted fewer pardons then any US president on record and also denied a boatload of commutation requests. Yet, he acted pretty quickly on this one, didn’t he? Initial public reaction on this move is pretty negative, though I suppose since you have Bush’s already low numbers and a lame duck President to boot, he probably doesn’t give a whit about public opinion.

What it will do however, is make it even harder for a Republican candidate to win the next presidency, and I would expect to see larger gains by the Democrats in both houses of Congress. It won’t be just due to this, but I predict it will add another reason for public discontent with Bush, and for them to take it out on the Republicans, who are getting charged with obstructing what the Democratic Congress is trying to do now for legislation, as well as being identified as the party that continues to back Bush on keeping troops in Iraq, which 2/3 of the American public now want to end involvement with. The Republican 25% voter base might like the Libby move, but I doubt the rest of the country will…and I think that, along with the other factors mentioned, means the Republicans will pay a heavy price at the ballot box. That in the long term will be good for the world, and good for the US.

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6 comments to Entirely predictable

  • Slg

    C'mon – it's obvious that there is a "big" coverup here.  Either there was an agreement way back between Libby, Cheney, Bush and Rove to have Libby aid in the cover-up OR Libby threatened to break it open.  Also, the extremes Cheney is going to to hide documents.

    There's something really big being hidden.

    Patrick Leahy is threatening to press criminal charges – hmmm….   

  • KC

    Its funny I never even thought of this when Scooter was first sentenced.   I guess Im not surprised.  He'll probably get a full pardon the day of Bush's successor's inauguration.   I guess they decided the optics of going for the full pardon were too bad.  

    No wonder people are so cynical about politics.  But this is likely one of those "inside the beltway" things and there really isnt anyone for voters to take their wrath out on (Bush not running for re-election and all) so I douobt there will be political ramifications.

  • Joseph

    Yeah, Scott. We really ought to focus on the important things at a time like this. That certainly wouldn't be ol' Scooter's convictions for lying for the administration. And it wouldn't be Bush's lack of a moral compass made increasingly apparent with every action he takes these days. No, it would be your faulty predictions as a blogger in Canada.
    When will you ever see the big picture??!!
    ; )

  • Well, if you hadn’t noticed.. there are reports that many Republicans are murmuring that Bush should dump Cheney, and get someone else to avoid an electoral slaughter. As for Rove, if you’d read the case as it was going on, you’d have seen many analysts said he obviously did some quick backtracking and talking to Fitz to avoid that indictment.

    Let me guess; you’re probably happy a guy who is convicted of obstructing justice and perjury and helping to stonewall an investigation into an outed CIA officer gets special treatment and is pardoned in a way unusual to Justice Dept guidelines.

  • Didn't you also predict that Bush would have to dump Cheney over "Plamegate"? And that Rove would be indicted?

  • […] Clark Link to Article george w bush Entirely predictable » Posted at Scotts DiaTribes on Monday, […]

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