Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Scooter on Ice

So Lewis "Scooter" Libby gets a 30-month sentence for perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to FBI investigators. Sentences don't sound so bad when stated in months, but that is two and a half years -- quite a stretch in the Big House. Now President Bush has to decide whether to pardon him.

I'm sticking with my prediction that the pardon will come on November 5, 2008 -- that's the day after the 2008 election, when Bush can issue the pardon with no fear of political consequences. But meantime, the conservative press is sounding the drumbeat for a pardon now.

You have to hand it to those conservatives: they display a perfect ability to argue without any embarrassment at contradicting what they've argued in the past. The National Review editorial argues that there is "solid justification for a pardon" because there was never a charge on the underlying act of outing a CIA agent (which the scandal was really about) but only charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

Excuse me? Didn't the Republicans impeach President Clinton -- making about the biggest stink one can make in our country -- for perjury before a grand jury, even though the original investigation into Whitewater never amounted to anything? I don't recall the National Review coming to Clinton's defense then.

Displaying the same fine sensibilities, House Republicans are calling for the expulsion of indicted Democratic representative William Jefferson, even though they didn't try to expel Republicans Tom DeLay or Robert Ney when they were indicted.

The best way to deal with high-profile cases is by the numbers. Let's apply the usual rules. Libby was found guilty and received a sentence. I think I would have given him about 18 months, but the judge said 30. Extraordinary measures are unwarranted.

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