Jul 2, 2007

On President Bush, Scooter Libby, and Our Corrupt Government

Lewis Scooter Libby, for whom President Bush ordered executive clemency Lewis "Scooter" Libby; click for larger image

I half expected that President Bush would pardon Scooter Libby after his conviction in March of lying to authorities and obstructing the investigation into the 2003 leak of a CIA operative's identity. Thus, news that the President would be commuting the 30-month prison sentence Libby received did not come as a complete surprise.

In fact, I think it is an indication of just how far President Bush's popularity has fallen that he felt compelled to leave the rest of the sentence in place, which includes a $250,000 fine and two years of probation. I suspect that Bush at the height of his popularity would have pulled the trigger on a complete pardon.

You can follow this link to the press release announcing clemency for Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, but this tersely-worded statement offers little insight into the President's mindset.

The President, in another statement, described Libby's prison sentence as "excessive", and depicted the former White House aide as a broken man.

"The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely," the President said. "He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting."

This is all true, but Lewis "Scooter" Libby violated the public trust and lied under oath. Perhaps he was just being a good soldier and taking the fall for his boss, Vice-President Dick Cheney, but the law is the law. If you, me, or my Uncle Bob had lied on the stand in a federal court, we would have been smacked down with similar penalties.

Except we don't have friends in high places like Scooter Libby.

Thus, another day's worth of corrupt politics draws to a close in Washington, and the collective disgust that most Americans feel for their elected representatives grows a bit deeper. It is also another dreary twilight in the presidency of President George W. Bush, a man who seemed to be the right person for the job in the weeks after 9-11, but whose administration spirals into a seemingly bottomless abyss of incompetency.


Anonymous said...

GWB has a year and a half left, but he's already a lame duck.


Stephanie said...

It's not as bad as it could have been, but Libby certainly deserves the jail time. What seems "excessive" to Bush seems fairly weak to me; and yet, Bush felt the need to make it weaker still.

Justice seems to have no meaning in Washington, but that hardly comes as a surprise.

Man with the Muck-rake said...

Republican corruption at its finest.

Remember how these same Republicans screamed about the 'felonies' of Clinton and wanted to hang his ass from the highest oak tree?

What a pathetic group of people.

Stephanie said...

This is a Republican problem!?!

Clinton commutes the sentences of terrorists.

His history of clemency required investigation.

Wikipedia has a page decade to Clinton's Pardongate.

And yet, this is "Republican" corruption? Sorry, but that's partisan blindness at its finest.

Corruption is a two-party problem, and until the American people realize that it's not going to change.

Man with the Muck-rake said...

Yes, this is a Republican problem. Come over to my website for my take on this:


historymike said...

Agreed that Bush looks like a lame duck, JD.

historymike said...

Agreed that Libby deserved jail time, Steph, and that Dems and Repubs have used the powers of clemency and pardon to benefit the politically connected.

historymike said...

While I agree that the Republicans under George W. Bush have been a particularly corrupt lot, MWTMR, I hold no illusions that the Dems have been choir boys and choir girls.

Still, given the fact that the GOP has dominated national politics for most of the past 25 years (I consider Clinton to be GOP-light), we shouldn't be surprised to see how arrogant they have become of late.

Anonymous said...

I never thought Bush looked like the person to handle the aftermath of 9/11. Never. All I heard was patriotic sound bytes and all I saw was a dogged determination to go after the people who had nothing to do with the attacks we suffered.

Many Americans were so shaken to by the attacks, they were willing to let America be redefined. They created a strong, protective Daddy figure to get them through those days. They projected onto Bush what they envisioned their fantasy leader should be, and then clung to their belief in their creation no matter how clear it became that the George Bush of their imagination did not exist. That's what wanting and needing to believe in something does to frightened people.

The consequences of that child-like surrender of reason and caution and analysis and reality are sad beyond words. I am outraged at this administration -- and heartbroken over the damage it has done. Undoing the mess will take far more time than I'll be alive, and it is left to my grandbabies to deal with the new generation of America haters that's being born as I type this.

Stephanie said...


I find it interesting that the post in which this matter is covered on your blog is one which does not allow comments.

Besides that, Clinton had his own tyrannical, politically motivated decisions when it comes to clemency.


Clinton = GOP-light

How does that equation work?

(And, remember, I'm a youngin'; Clinton is the only DNC president in my life-time.)

Man with the Muck-rake said...


I find it interesting that the post in which this matter is covered on your blog is one which does not allow comments.

That was an error; feel free now to comment.

-Sepp said...

Liberals are flipping out over this? Bill Clinton was nailed on the exact same charges and got a slap on the wrist...but thats ok right?
Bill Clinton pardoned terrorists, child pornographers and coke dealers...I guess thats ok too then right?

Libbey should have gotten what was comming to him...and the same goes for Clinton.

Bush was wrong to let him off the hook...and Clinton's pardons and commutations were just as wrong.

Can I get ONE liberal to acknowledge that? What hypocracy!