Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 03, 2007

Libby Clemency Shows A Bush Feature

What can one say about the Libby soft-pardon. Is Bush trying to set some record as most despised president ever?

No. The most likely reason to rescue Libby from jail-time by clemency is to keep him quiet. There was the danger that Libby, staring at a cell wall, would feel some urge to talk to Fitz.

Not really pardoning him now helps to let Libby keep the right to pledge the fifth at least as long as the legal appeal process is kept alive. In early 2009 a full pardon will be done and the media, congress and voters will not care anymore.

Essentially Bush is protecting Cheney and himself through the presidential power to pardon someone. That is obstruction of justice.

But the whole Bush/Cheney administration, selected by a dubious legal ruling in 2000, with its war of aggression on Iraq, the tapping of domestic phone calls in ignorance of the FISA law, the corruption of the Justice Department and some thousand things we don't know about is essentially one big long experience in obstruction of justice.

This is not a defect of the Bush/Cheney administration, its a feature.

The clapping on the right for the Libby clemency shows that their base just loves this. It may even lift Bush's poll ratings.

Posted by b on July 3, 2007 at 17:12 UTC | Permalink


But he's still on *probation*. And he'll have to pay a stiff *fine*. Isn't that harsh enough?

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jul 3 2007 17:42 utc | 1

Guess I'm a little suprised what with bushes predilection for other peoples pain and all. Of course there will have to be some payback and Scooter will have to sign on as kitchen help or something, back at the Crawford ranch. Pain delayed is not necessarily pain denied. As the current crop of republican hopefuls will surely attest, when asked repeatedly "would you have pardoned scooter libby?" Because the pro-pardon base couldn't win dog catcher office.

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 3 2007 19:04 utc | 2

this administration wouldn't know laws & rights if it was shove up their ass with a pile of burning washington posts

the rule of law for them is as it is under all tyrannies - the tyrants make & break the law according their necessities

a democracy - my ass

Posted by: r'giap | Jul 3 2007 19:12 utc | 3

@anna missed - As the current crop of republican hopefuls will surely attest, when asked repeatedly "would you have pardoned scooter libby?"

And who do you expect to do the asking? And to publish the answers?

I'm not optimistic on that. The main Washington media will forget about this within days and never mention it again. Nobody but some "outer left hippies" will ask the question.

Posted by: b | Jul 3 2007 19:16 utc | 4

Only 21% support the POTUS on this one. Actually, there are many on the Right-wing who are outraged by this, but not necessarily for the right reasons (pardon the pun). Bush has to keep Libby quiet because Libby has information on the WH he can trade for a deal with FItzpatrick. The Neocon and Theocon crazies are also at risk and so is the whole of the Republican party. So, their caught in a vice. They have to pardon Libby, but the pardon will cost them in '08 dearly, may lead to impeachment proceeding against Cheney, and if the facts behind the outing of Valerie plame or one of a hundered other criminal acts is exposed, the pres himself may face impeachment. How's that for a nice dream. Waking up now..:)

Posted by: Iron Butterfly | Jul 3 2007 20:07 utc | 5

A lot of press effort is being made to assure us that it was Bush and Bush alone to make the decision. WaPo's article, "A Decision Made Largely Alone" doesn't even mention Cheney. So now we know Bush's role for the rest of his term, fall guy.

Posted by: Dick Durata | Jul 3 2007 20:11 utc | 6

Already in the MSM I'm hearing that "many people" approve of the commutation; this while polls show the majority of Americans are solidly against it. "Many people" and "some people are saying" are clear signs of a sick and broken media who are no longer willing/able to do their job.

The problem is that Bush still has 18 months in which to inflict damage. The upside? The Republicans, who were nearly unelectable before yesterday, just say their hopes dim a bit more.

Posted by: montysano | Jul 3 2007 20:22 utc | 7

this administration is so infected with criminality - a criminality at its very core - a criminality so carvan & conscious - the acts of a libby or even of a hood like abramoff start to be seen as something small

in fact, the accumulated criminality possibly has no precedent - that is - it covers the entire waterfront of criminal acts - from common theft to common murder

the international crimes this administration has committed & committed since day one will forever place it in infamy in any of the histories of the decline of an empire

Posted by: r'giap | Jul 3 2007 20:38 utc | 8

Is this a Wapo Post?

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jul 3 2007 21:16 utc | 9

Well since 'I told you so" is a pointless and destructive way of approaching things people should consider that the worst is yet to come. "Scooter" will appeal this conviction in front of a mob of friendly judges and if that doesn't do the trick the mean little man will pardon him. The commutation was to keep his mate's ass outta jail but theat won't get Libby his bar membership and right to practise law back. Obviously from a PR point of view a successful appeal will be the best as it buttresses asshole's commutation, but a pardon will be given before the little prick pulls the pin on his whitehouse gig if the appeal doesn't get up.

Otherwise without bar membership Libby is going to be a difficult choice for partnerships in law firms, lobbyists conglomerates and corporate boards.

We know what's going to happen so why waste energy on it. The outcome has been inevitable and really if amerikans are pissed off about the way the ruling elite carry on they would be better served by picking pressure points rather than trying to bash these assholes where their armour is thickest, which is the warped and corrupt legal system.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 3 2007 22:47 utc | 10

had to report for jury duty yesterday. one of the questions during the interviews was whether, in a state prosecution of an alleged assault/burglary, we could follow the judges' instruction to place a police officer's testimony "on equal footing" with that of anyone else, for example "like a plumber." 35 out of the 39 potential jurors in the room had no problem with that.

has it really been a farce all along - this administration of law & justice?

Posted by: b real | Jul 3 2007 23:14 utc | 11

Republican Dick
and his aide Lewis
clearly appear to have committed 'high crimes" yet Republicans
avidly defend them. Republicans can no longer lay claim to being the party
of Law and Order.

Posted by: Patriot | Jul 3 2007 23:22 utc | 12

Like Scooter has to sweat employment.

Any number of neocon stink tanks welcome war criminals like him with open arms.

AEI just hired co-conspirator Wolfowitz as a visiting scholar.

Posted by: ran | Jul 4 2007 1:27 utc | 13

An important point of debate in the 2000 elections was the post impeachment fallout, the single most significant (bad taste) being "the president lied under oath". Incredulous as it seems now, it remained for many folks a red card against continued democratic control of the white house. Judging how the current crop of democrats have come out of the gate over the scooter scoot its pretty clear they sense a reversal of fortune and would love nothing more than to bring it again and again adinfintum -- without waiting for the press to bring it up.

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 4 2007 1:30 utc | 14

"Well, I don't think the pinko Dems and other Bush haters would have anything good to say either way. What are you going to do; call Bush Hitler?

According to the Left, He is already a mass murderer, draft dodger, leader of a coup, responsible for Katrina and blowing up the levies, blowing up the WTC and causing global warming.

The Left has never forgiven the Republican Congress for impeaching Slick Billy for lying under oath, as evidenced by the flurry of subpoenas of late in an thinly veiled attempt to get ANYTHING on Our Leader.

Maybe you should move to China."

[DISCLAIMER: A re-publication of Repug think-speak. The last time I did this, B outed me to my Repug employer, just months short of my pension. Ouch! Please, B, don't Scooter me again!]

Posted by: Tante Aime | Jul 4 2007 2:39 utc | 15

Tante Aime, too? Welcome back.

I too hate to say I told you so, but when everyone was twittering away like birdies on a sunny spring morn about good ole Fitzy and Plame and Libby, I knew it wouldn't amount to anything. A complete waste of time which could have been spent educating people or organizing or working on the local level where it is possible to effect some little change. It was all about deflecting the attention of the twittering classes.

Face facts, despite a world lurching towards catastrophe, the duopoly at the wheel has been far more content and more united now than last decade.

Posted by: Malooga | Jul 4 2007 4:02 utc | 16

Interesting point of this setting a precedence:Bush Rationale on Libby Stirs Legal Debate

Perhaps inadvertently, Mr. Bush’s decision to grant a commutation rather than an outright pardon has started a national conversation about sentencing generally.

“By saying that the sentence was excessive, I wonder if he understood the ramifications of saying that,” said Ellen S. Podgor, who teaches criminal law at Stetson University in St. Petersburg, Fla. “This is opening up a can of worms about federal sentencing.”

The Libby clemency will be the basis for many legal arguments, said Susan James, an Alabama lawyer representing Don E. Siegelman, the state’s former governor, who is appealing a sentence he received last week of 88 months for obstruction of justice and other offenses.

“It’s far more important than if he’d just pardoned Libby,” Ms. James said, as forgiving a given offense as an act of executive grace would have had only political repercussions. “What you’re going to see is people like me quoting President Bush in every pleading that comes across every federal judge’s desk.”

Indeed, Mr. Bush’s decision may have given birth to a new sort of legal document.

“I anticipate that we’re going to get a new motion called ‘the Libby motion,’ ” Professor Podgor said. “It will basically say, ‘My client should have got what Libby got, and here’s why.’ ”

Posted by: b | Jul 4 2007 6:11 utc | 17

Say whatever you want, Malooga. Just stick around. Tante Aime as well.

Posted by: jj | Jul 4 2007 6:54 utc | 18

“I anticipate that we’re going to get a new motion called ‘the Libby motion,’ ” Professor Podgor said. “It will basically say, ‘My client should have got what Libby got, and here’s why.’ ”

Until it goes up to Roberts' World, where the Sopranos Supremes will rapidly end this dangerous nonsense with a "Bush vs. Gore" 'one-off'er ruling, stating that Bush's action, because it was a Presidential pardon, was a one-shot deal, which has no legal ramifications which could be applied anywhere else.

The murder weapon is then as clean as a whistle and ready to be employed again.

Posted by: Malooga | Jul 4 2007 8:01 utc | 19

The doublethinkingly scary part of Bush's commutation (it was not a pardon, as part of the stentence remains intact) is that *everybody* knows why he did it, namely to keep Libby quiet.

Even Bush supporters know that's why Libby got his sentence commuted, they just agree with Bush that Libby *should* remain mumm on the issue.

I was also amused to read that conservatives are criticizing Bush for not pardoning him entirely...

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jul 4 2007 9:51 utc | 20

Wow! The comment threads are here usually better and more informative than any I've seen elsewhere. But this thread is even better than usual -- it's like footnotes to the post at the beginning.

The plea of "excessive sentencing" has, it seems to me, potential -- it is common knowledge that prison sentences in the US are draconian, exceded, if at all, only by countries we'd rather not be compared with.

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Jul 4 2007 13:12 utc | 21

Like I said before, thanks, Gerald R. Ford for healing the nation.

"See, things are trendin' downward. Used to be a guy got pinched, he took his prison jolt no matter what. Everybody upheld the code of silence. Nowadays, no values. Guys today have no room for the penal experience. ... I feel exhausted just talking about it."*

- Tony Soprano

I figure if Hill and Bill can do it so can I./snark

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jul 4 2007 15:49 utc | 22

Great rant from Mark Morford.

You have to laugh. You have to laugh because if you do not laugh you will likely be overcome with a mad desire to stab yourself in the eye with a sharp feral cat and/or shoot yourself in the toe with a high-powered staple gun, over and over again, all while tearing out pages of the United States Constitution and crumpling them into tiny little balls and hurling them into the smoldering firepit of who-the-hell-cares as you shiver in the corner and swig from a bottle of Knob Creek and wail at the moon. Or maybe that’s just me.

Posted by: catlady | Jul 4 2007 16:25 utc | 23

oopps - the Moonie Times is pissed

Perjury is a serious crime. This newspaper argued on behalf of its seriousness in the 1990s, during the Clinton perjury controversy, and today is no different. We'd have hoped that more conservatives would agree. The integrity of the judicial process depends on fact-finding and truth-telling. A jury found Libby guilty of not only perjury but also obstruction justice and lying to a grand jury. It handed down a very supportable verdict. This is true regardless of the trumped-up investigation and political witch hunt. It is true regardless of the unjustifiably harsh sentence.

Had Mr. Bush reduced Libby's sentence to 15 months, we might have been able to support the decision. Alas, he did not.

Posted by: b | Jul 4 2007 17:41 utc | 24


The president and his aides have been trending toward the margins of reality for some time now, but with this week's commutation of Scooter Libby's prison term, the administration's statements dissolved into nonsense.

President Bush, fielding questions yesterday after visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed, declared that "the jury verdict should stand" -- and then, in answer to the same question, said he was open to vacating the verdict by granting Libby a full pardon.

Logic suffered a more serious challenge when Bush press secretary Tony Snow, in his briefing, made the following points about Libby's case:

· That Bush wasn't "granting a favor to anyone" but that the case got his "special handling."

· That it was not done for "political reasons" even though "it was political."

· That it was handled "in a routine manner," yet it was also "an extraordinary case."

· That "we are not going to make comments" on the case, even though Bush had already issued a 655-word statement commenting on the case.

And if that makes sense to you, beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the frumious Bandersnatch.

"You're insulting our intelligence," one of the reporters advised Snow.

"How can you stand there with a straight face?" queried CBS News's Bill Plante.

Not that the media folks will follow up ...

Posted by: b | Jul 4 2007 19:26 utc | 25

I still maintain bush actually hated to hand out this commutation. Its part of his personal facade of integrity to be remain stalwart and uncompromising under political pressure to change. But because, as many have indicated, libby might testify against him&shooter, he had to preform this public act of pure and pristine duplicity, worthy of clinton's "depends on what the definition of is is". Reluctantly then, bush had to cut for himself a similar act of cross dressing semantics with the "i agree with the jury's decision, but disagree with the sentence" nonsense - that leaves no other alternative but for him to do the unthinkable, and parade around in public in monica's stained blue dress. In the language of lowbrow american morality, bush has become clinton, and that more than a million dead, will drive him fucking crazy.

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 4 2007 20:13 utc | 26

So, who will be the first to photo-shop George Bush on the White House lawn wearing a rumpled and stained blue dress?

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 4 2007 20:47 utc | 27

after stepping away from the computer for a few days i come back to see some ol timers.. cool.

libby? ball and chains too good for that boy. i'm exhausted. heat wave.

Posted by: annie | Jul 6 2007 0:08 utc | 28

Libby and His “Conservative” Supporters

Posted by: Rick | Jul 6 2007 1:56 utc | 29

Not that anyone needs more proof of the sheer hypocrisy...

Bush Filed a Motion Last Year to Uphold the 33-Month Sentence of Victor Rita, a 24-Year Marine Corps Vet Convicted on Same Crimes as Libby????????

Also, some quarters are saying, Libby a Long-Time Mossad Agent

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jul 6 2007 8:05 utc | 30

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