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On the Libby Decision & the Left’s Silly Mantras

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:22 pm - July 3, 2007.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Liberals,Media Bias,National Politics

While Bruce and I have very different styles — and manner of blogging — we tend to agree on most political issues. I have to take issue with him with on the president’s decision to commute the jail sentence of Scooter Libby. I’m not sure it was a “half-measure” as Bruce puts it. Given the circumstances of the case, with the prosecutor bringing up stuff in the sentencing phase that wasn’t offered at trial, with the trial judge imposing a sentence in excess of that recommended by the probation office, I think the president did the right thing.

I may have more to say on this later, but am busy with school at present. So for now, I’ll just say that I pretty much think that Paul Mirengoff got it right in his Powerline post on the topic. He links a solid piece by William Otis from the Washington Post (which I ***highly*** recommend). Otis demonstrates that “There is a legal principle at stake in this case greater than either Libby or the politics of the moment.

In reviewing some of the comments in the moderation queue, I am amused at the left’s frenzy over the president’s decision. Even though he did not please the right, he managed (yet again) to infuriate the left. And many of those on the left see a conspiracy where there is none.

Mrs. Clinton’s comments show how much she buys into the left’s histrionics. Or maybe she knows better and is just doing this to win their support. For her comments are based less on the facts of the situation than the left-wing line on the case:

This (the Libby decision) was clearly an effort to protect the White House. … There isn’t any doubt now, what we know is that Libby was carrying out the implicit or explicit wishes of the vice president, or maybe the president as well, in the further effort to stifle dissent.

Um, how was this done to protect the White House? And where’s the evidence that Libby was carrying out the Vice President’s wishes when he made the statements for which he was convicted?

Had I not studied psychology, I might be befuddled why she, like so many on the left, seems to think that this Administration has tried, in her words, to stifle dissent. (They seem to be projecting something onto his.) As the very comments to Bruce’s post show (many of which I approved even though they were held up by our spam filter), many have offered very robust criticism of the president’s decision. No one is trying to stifle their voices. And such criticism, what she calls “dissent,” has persisted uninterrupted, at increasing numbers of outlets, throughout the president’s term in office.

All that Scooter Libby attempted to do, in a very ham-handed way, was to discredit a dishonest critics of the Administration. He was not even convicted of those clumnsy efforts, but of lying to investigators about them. And Joe Wilson, the man whose deceptions about the Administration’s record set this whole process in motion, could not be convicted because he lied to the media and not to a federal grand jury.

Yet, even as that dishonest man’s man audience has shrunk, he continues to remain free to spout his nonsense, while Mr. Libby (even after the commutation of his jail sentence) still facts several severe penalties, including probation and a hefty fine.

Mr. Wilson may long have been discredited, but neither he nor his supporters have been silenced.

It’s a sad commentary on the left that they continue to repeat their mantra that this case is an example of the Administration attempting to stifle dissent. There are examples too numerous to mention which prove the opposite, including their very criticism of this decision.

– B. Daniel Blatt (

Another Bush Half-Measure

It seems since his 2004 re-election, President Bush has succeeded in doing a lot things half-way or half-assed.  The commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence is a little bit of both.  It is certainly not an act of political leadership or courage.  The Wall Street Journal agrees:

President Bush’s commutation late yesterday afternoon of the prison sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby will at least spare his former aide from 2 1/2 years in prison. But by failing to issue a full pardon, Mr. Bush is evading responsibility for the role his Administration played in letting the Plame affair build into fiasco and, ultimately, this personal tragedy.

Mr. Libby will have to pay a fine of $250,000 and serve two years probation. This reflects the leniency that was previously recommended by the federal probation office but was rejected by Judge Reggie Walton in his vindictive sentence.

These columns have had cause to defend the Bush Presidency from what we’ve seen as often meritless or exaggerated partisan attacks, notably over national security and the Iraq war. This, however, will stand as a dark moment in this Administration’s history. Joe Wilson’s original, false accusation about pre-war intelligence metastasized into the issue of who “outed” his wife, Valerie Plame, as an intelligence officer. As the event unfolded, it fell to Mr. Libby to defend the Administration against Mr. Wilson’s original charge, with little public assistance or support from the likes of Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell or Stephen Hadley.

Mr. Libby deserved better from the President whose policies he tried to defend when others were running for cover. The consequences for the reputation of his Administration will also be long-lasting.

Frankly, I think it is too late for the reputation.

And this ironic note from a reader at The Corner.

notwithstanding the commutation, it’s hard to swallow an otherwise hard working public servant getting whacked with a $250,000 fine, a destroyed reputation and an enormous amount of personal anguish – when he was put in a very tough position by an administration that seemed slow to defend…

i don’t pretend to know all the facts – but I do know this – Sandy Berger stole classified documents re: sensitive national security issues and received a $50K fine…

I guess for Inside The Beltwayers, justice is only “just” when a conservative goes to jail.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)