What will he do, what WILL he do?
Considering the White House is now under subpoena for the kitchen sink and the ongoing U.S. Attorney firings are still ongoing it might be a no-brainer to just let Libby slip off to prison and be done with it. Bush has already avoided the pardon awaiting the legal system to "play out" but now that it has (forget the Supremes) why pardon now when he could have pardoned earlier? Poor Scooter better start doing push-ups.
Oh sure the base would be ticked if Libby heads up river and yes, the Decider's political capital might soon fit into a thimble but what are the conservatives going to do, vote for Hillary? Turn to Kucinich? Gravel? Paul?
The political drawback of prison would be the photo-op of Libby shackled and wearing a jump suit, something which might end up on every Democrat fund raising letter from here to next November, not to mention on every front page and TV news show. There's also a risk this might be seen as a stepping stone to more vigorous round of hardballs being thrown at Cheney and the Big Guy, with Libby as the poster boy.
On the flip side a pardon would cause the left to go absolutely apesh$t. Talking about increasing campaign contributions overnight! The mainstream media would also help those who would claim Bush was just completing his destruction of the Constitution once and for all.
What about commutation? Bush could announce he was commuting the sentence pending appeal. He could come out and say he only meant to fire the person who leaked, Armitage leaked, he's gone, case closed. Rove and Libby were vague and only trying to discredit a bogus story being conflated in the press and oh yeah, Andrea Mitchell said on TV...
OK wait a minute, get real, A.C. If Bush commutes it would be without comment and likely during a major media event where the headline "Bush commutes former aide's prison time pending appeal" could be buried. Question is, how long til we get another major media event? Rosie, Coulter and Paris have pretty much played themselves out.
But wait. Not to be forgotten are a couple of 64,000 dollar questions that don't involve the Prez. One is the possibility of someone stepping forward and blabbing about what really went on between the Wilsons and the press, a kind of neutron bombshell that would make a pardon pardonable since the press would have to cover it. If they were to bury it, then presto.
The other is more sinister for the faithful, which is that Libby turns state's evidence against the White House about something in return for a diminished sentence. Surely Waxman and the others dream about this nightly with sugar plum fairies dancing about. Not only would it be an official legacy-crusher it would also be a salvo at the leading Repub candidates for 08, since all have come to Scooter's support in debates. What's that saying about gifts that keep on giving?
Me? I said after the conviction Libby wouldn't serve one day mainly based on his service record and everything he knows, which is pretty much everything. I'm trying to imagine him in jail being wheedled for sensitive national security secrets by some two-bit crook and I'm just not seeing it. But I'm not the decider.
THAT WAS FAST 7/2/07
Can someone be wrong and right at the same time? Bush commutes posthaste. Guess he figured there were a few chits remaining with the leftist establishment, like his previous use of executive privilege to protect the Clintons in 2001 and of course Sandy Berger (not to mention the missing W's on the White House keyboards). Sometimes it's good to have a 27 percent approval rating, likely to now rise.
There was just no way Libby was ever going to serve a minute in jail for this kind of a hair-brained stunt, not a man in his position. The bloggin left is already going apesh$t as predicted, but that's like predicting sunrise. Certainly a few at NBC News might be breathing a sigh of relief, though.
Loose ends. Plame's book is still hung up in the meat plant at Langley. Wonder when it will pop out? Her movie may have more impact now if they can get it out before the 2008 elections. But what about declassifying some information on 1) who sent her, 2) why Wilson was chosen, 3) whether she was actually covered under the IIPA, 4) whether Russert actually knew via Gregory and Mitchell. Libby may be free but his name is far from cleared. Unfortunately the commutation may serve to cut off any further knowledge of this affair, unless Libby chooses to pursue appeal.
THE OLD GRAY LADY WADES IN 7/2/07
And is nearly as unhinged as the lefty blogosphere. Maybe they should have sat on this one awhile and published tomorrow but alas, in their haste to get something out fast we got a revealing look at their partisanship. Again. Like this:
Mrs. Wilson's husband, Joseph Wilson, was asked to investigate a central claim in Mr. Bush's drive to war with Iraq whether Iraq tried to purchase uranium from Africa. Mr. Wilson concluded that Iraq had not done that and had the temerity to share those conclusions with the American public.Good Lord, how many times have they been corrected on this BS? Bush said "Africa", a continent, and Wilson went to "Niger", a country. Joe didn't prove anything because nobody was going to admit to him if they were dealing yellowcake on the sly anyway. For that reason the CIA's own analysts (apparently not his wife) didn't put much stock in the report he never wrote. Here's another gem:
It seems clear from the record that Vice President Dick Cheney organized a campaign to discredit Mr. Wilson. And Mr. Libby, who was Mr. Cheney's chief of staff, was willing to lie to protect his boss.Only if you see him as Old Man Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life". The Times seems to be a hair away from going Olbermann and making Dick jokes. Again, the record shows Cheney was debunking Wilson's charge, not discrediting him. Part of that required pointing out to the American people that this man's wife had recommended him for the job. They may have screwed up in the process but doesn't the Times think we needed to know who sent Joe? Apparently that kind of secrecy is OK.
Best for last. In true lefty fashion they tried to make a comparison between Bush allowing executions of convicted killers while Governor of Texas with commuting the sentence of Libby, convicted of a process crime in trying to debunk a proven liar and where the actual leaker wasn't even charged. Good going, guys:
Mr. Bush's assertion that he respected the verdict but considered the sentence excessive only underscored the way this president is tough on crime when it's committed by common folk. As governor of Texas, he was infamous for joking about the impending execution of Karla Faye Tucker, a killer who became a born-again Christian on death row. .The only thing missing was an interview with Miss Runamok.
ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD 7/2/07
Liberals are coming unglued saying Bush "ignored the verdict". He did no such thing. It was Judge Walton who ignored his own sentencing guidelines (which had argued for a downward departure). And lest we not forget several of the jurors said they wouldn't be upset with a pardon, something which Bush did not provide. Good night...