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 (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)