Why Scooter Matters

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Now that the dust has settled on this story, I wanted to throw in a few words on why it matters (to me, at least). In discussing this topic, I have heard a few defenses repeated. Other presidents have done this...just look at Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich. He is still getting a fine and probation. Finally, it is no big deal.

The power to pardon is a Constitutionally enumerated power of the Executive Branch. All presidents have used to pardon or commute sentences and some of these actions have been controversial. President Clinton essentially sold a pardon for Marc Rich. It was a morally bankrupt act, but it is also irrelevant to now. We should expect our elected officials to act better and as my mother used to say, "just because all your firends are jumping off bridges doesn't mean that you should."

The fine is substantial, but I am willing to bet money that some wealthy donor will step in and pay it for him if he has difficulty. I am not aware of the conditions of his probation, so I can't comment on how onerous they are. I am sure they aren't as bad as actually having to go to prison.

It is a big deal. Mr. Libby committed a crime and deserves a fair punsihment. A jury found him guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice. In order for our government to function, there has to be some level of transparency and accountability. There also has to be some way of punishing officials when they behave illegally or unethically. In this case, there was little or no accountability. I am not suggesting that there was a deal to get Scooter 'off the hook,' but I don't see much incentive for future high-ranking officials to tell the truth in some investigation if they will just get a pardon or commution. In my opinion, this is a major concern. It sets a bad precendent and discourages the rule of law and accountability. Bush "wrote" in his autobiography, A Charge To Keep, "I don't believe my role is to replace the verdict of a jury with my own." In that case, he was talking about why he refused to commute a death sentence, but it certainly shows a disturbing inconsistency.

At this point, there isn't much anyone can do, but complain. Bush has dismal ratings that probably can't go any lower. I am interested in what the Republican candidates have to say about this. Fred Thompson expressed his support for Scooter. This seriously hurts his image, in my opinion. The best thing any Republican can do is distance themselves from this administration.

3 comments:

Smitty 3:04 PM  

but I don't see much incentive for future high-ranking officials to tell the truth in some investigation if they will just get a pardon or commution

Your concern here, steves, is the root of why Bush's pardon is so onerous. It is the root of what I linked to a few posts ago.

Even Paris Fucking Hilton served time.

steves 6:50 AM  

I realize I was saying anything new, but had noticed that there wasn't much noise from conservatives, despite polling data that shows that a fair number are unhappy with this decision.

Smitty 8:46 AM  

I'm not totally surprised because unfortunately many of the vocal conservatives are the "28-percenters" that are in lock-step with the Admin. It is sad.

This is a conservative principle!! When someone breaks the law, they do their time. Liberals have been branded soft on crime because of support of policies that release prisoners earlier than usual. Truth In Sentencing was a huge conservative push just shy of a decade ago. ANd now we have excuse-making from the conservatives, so blinded by the Bush Admin that they ignore their own core value in this case.

Sad.

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