Today, it’s time for When Evil Prospers to comment on Bush’s recent decision to commute Scooter Libby’s prison sentence. As expected, the liberals are outraged, while the conservatives are lukewarm. Here is my take:
First, pardon privileges are part of the checks and balances of the government, and they are guaranteed and protected by the Constitution, so no one has an argument with the legality of the issue. They may question Bush’s judgment, but not his legality. The pardon privilege was implemented to allow the president to over rule any obvious and direct injustice against an American citizen. This is to prevent the Courts or the Congress from over reaching their power. In Libby’s case, that’s exactly what happened. I believe that the punishment should fit the crime and I’m still not clear as to what, if any, crime Libby committed. The fine may or may not be appropriate, but the prison sentence was far too excessive and should never have been imposed. The Scooter Libby witch hunt was driven by politics and nothing else, as was his conviction and his prison sentence. His main crime was that he worked for Dick Cheney, and the Left had nothing to prosecute anyone else with. If Scooter Libby had been an average citizen, he would have gotten nothing near this severe of a sentence. This was indeed an injustice. Bush did the right thing in regards to that.
"This commutation sends the clear signal that in this administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice." - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.
Really? In light of Bill’s history I think Hillary is better served letting this issue blow over. I mean, does Hillary really want to talk about misuse of pardon privilege? Do you really want to have that conversation, Senator? I didn’t think so. I’m dying to hear Bill’s response to all of this. Notice he has been quiet since the news came down, so I'll remind everyone myself.
Bill Clinton issued over 450 pardons and commutations, compared to 406 issued by President Reagan during his two terms. During his four years, President Carter issued 566 pardons and commutations, while in the same length of time President Bush granted 77. President Ford issued 409 during the slightly more than two years he was president.
It’s interesting that those who oppose Bush’s decision had no problems with the Clinton “pardon-gate” fiasco that occurred when he left office. Pardons aren’t meant to be political favors for those who contributed money to you, they’re meant to right a blatant wrong. This, of course, is applying reason and common sense to a political issue, two things that often escape the rantings and mindset of the Left, but that’s another post.
Now, to the issue I have with Bush’s decision. To be clear, I voted for Bush twice, mainly because of national security issues, but the past 6 months have been interesting. I’ve lost some faith in him. I’m not happy at all about his outrageous spending (although this was more the doings of the Congress than the President) and I feel his immigration aspirations are looney. And, to be honest, I’ve been disappointed in his slow migration to the Left in the past several months. He has shown more of a tendency to be middle-of-the-road and, in many cases, indecisive. This is what I despised about Clinton, and I don’t understand what’s going on with Bush. Maybe he’s just getting tired of dealing with all the crap that he has to deal with on a daily basis. I know I would be.
Which brings me to the Libby issue. It seems that if Bush truly felt this were an injustice he would’ve completely pardoned the guy. I mean, he’s either guilty or not guilty, right? There really is no in between. So why allow the conviction to stand, the fine to be imposed, while just saving him the prison time? This, again, seems a little too middle-of-the-road to me. So, while I’m happy that one injustice was corrected, I’m also a little disappointed in the lack of assertiveness. Bush has no doubt suffered one of the most difficult 8 year terms in American history, and it certainly is taking its toll, but we still need an assertive leader. It makes me cringe when I think of what may have been if the Supreme Court hadn’t stopped Al Gore’s under-the-table coup in 2000.
I feel that George Bush is a fine person, that he is honest and seeks what’s best for America. I disagree with him at times, but I respect him as a leader and as the President. I understand that the job requires the occasional reach across the aisle, but I also know that there are many across the aisle that lack reason and accountability, and are only in it for themselves. You can’t negotiate with those people because they have no interest in America’s common good.
In my leadership positions, I’ve learned a few things. Mainly, you can’t please everyone and still be effective as a leader. If you’re going to lead, you’re going to piss off some people. Bill Clinton governed by polls. He was not for or against anything unless the polls directed him, even down to what color tie he wore. That’s why his approval numbers were always so high. He limited the number of people he pissed off, and as a result proved that he was incapable as a leader. Even today, we still suffer the consequences as a nation.
So, make a decision, follow through with it, and stand by it. There will always be pickers and booers from one side or the other, and there are just times when you have to give your critics the finger and let them be pissed off. If there is one thing that was always appealing about Bush is that he said what he meant and meant what he said, even when he called a New York Times reporter an 'asshole'. That quality may be fading. I certainly hope not.