Republican hypocrisy was on full display today. The supposedly “tough on crime” President George W. Bush commuted part of Scooter Libby’s sentence. Literally, Bush gave Scooter a “get out of jail free card.”
Tough on crime my ass.
Libby is still a convicted felon, will have to pay $250,000 and will be on probation should his appeal fail. (The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Libby’s request to remain free on bail while his appeal is under way, so the writing is on the wall as to the persuasiveness of his rather unorthodox legal arguments.)
Apparently obstructing justice, committing perjury, and making false statements is not really so bad if you are a Republican…at least, not bad enough to spend time in prison over.
The hypocrisy is overwhelming. While Governor of Texas, George W. Bush oversaw the execution of over 100 people, including three people who were borderline mentally retarded. Apparently, death is the right sentence for criminals who lack the mental capacity to fully understand their crimes. But Libby, a lawyer who rose to an important position in the White House, who knew full well he was obstructing a very serious criminal investigation, and who presumably has an IQ greater than 70…he walks. Maybe “selective on crime” is a better tag line.
(On the other hand, maybe Bush does not have the mental capacity to understand what he has done? I mean, really, has George W. Bush ever done anything that would peg his I.Q. at over 70?)
Here is how Dubya tried to justify his soft-on-crime decision:
Mr. Libby was sentenced to thirty months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine. In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation.
I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive.
Excessive? Umm…pardon my cynicism, but wasn’t Judge Reggie Walton appointed precisely because he had a no-nonsense, tough-on-crime attitude?
In the end, the hypocrisy should be overshadowed by the simple logic of what just went down. Libby took a bullet for Dick Cheney, who clearly orchestrated a smear campaign against Valerie Wilson. Libby is convicted (instead of Cheney). Bush takes the sting out of Libby’s sentence. Pure and shameless abuse of power. Mark my words…in the end, Bush will pardon Libby.
I mean, that’s just the way organized crime works.