All that leftist yearning and popcorn later. Let’s check on the outcomes of “Plamegate”:
* Dick Cheney: Still vice-president.
* Karl Rove: Still around.
* Lewis Libby: Not in jail.
* George W. Bush: Still awesome.
* Liberals: A mite peeved.
President Bush has made his first smart move in months by commuting Scooter Libby's jail sentence.
President Bush has done the right thing and has commuted Scooter Libby's sentence. It's about time. Many conservatives have been calling for this and I am glad President Bush has done this.
Um ... yeah, whatever:
FMR. REP. GINGRICH: President—you know, I’m—I’ve been divorced twice.
Both times I’ve been deposed. Both times I was told, “Perjury is a felony. You should tell the truth under deposition.” President Clinton lied under oath as a lawyer in front of a sitting federal judge in a civil rights case. This was not about his personal behavior in the Oval Office. That’s a matter of judgment, and people can render judgment. The question is, do you want to go down the road of Nigeria and corruption and have a country in which, as long as he’s popular, he can break the law? And if Clinton gets to commit perjury on this topic, then what does the next president get to commit perjury on, and then what does the next president get to commit perjury on? This was entirely about something I knew personally. We have an obligation as citizens to tell the truth to a federal judge under oath. The president failed that.
Whoops, sorry ... I have no idea how that last one slipped in there.
AFTERSNARK: TPM's Josh Marshall does the heavy intellectual lifting here:
There is a conceivable argument --- a very poor one but a conceivable one --- for pardoning Scooter Libby, presumably on the argument that the entire prosecution was political and thus illegitimate. But what conceivable argument does the president have for micromanaging the sentence? To decide that the conviction is appropriate, that probation is appropriate, that a substantial fine is appropriate --- just no prison sentence.
This is being treated in the press as splitting the difference, an elegant compromise. But it is the least justifiable approach. The president has decided that the sentencing guidelines and the opinion of judge don't cut it.
The only basis for this decision is that Libby is the vice president's friend, the vice president rules the president and this was the minimum necessary to keep the man silent.
Exactly. If Commander Codpiece thought the verdict was unfair, he should have simply issued a pardon and defended it. Instead, he's made the most indefensible of all possible choices -- he acknowledges the crime and the conviction while rejecting the sentence for it. And you just know that that kind of inconsistency is going to fly right over the heads of the entire wingnut-o-sphere.
YES, DEAR. Commenter Alison has it exactly correct, as Josh Marshall describes here:
I havent seen this noted but i think the reason for the commutation is that a pardon would mean that Libby was no longer exposed to criminal sanctions and thus had no Fifth Amendment privilege. As it stands he has a fine and probation at stake during the pendency of the appeal which inulates [sic] him ( and Bush and Cheney) from havaing [sic] to answer questions before Congress.
It is the best of all possible worlds, isn't it? Probation means squat, Libby's friends will cover his $250,000 fine with pocket change, he'll immediately get a well-paying gig at a right-wing think tank (hello, American Enterprise Institute), and he can't possibly be called up again for questioning. Life really doesn't get any better than that for a convicted felon, does it?