President Bush recently exercised a Presidential right listed in the Constitution of the United States of American to commute the prison sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Do note, if you please, that President Bush only commuted the 30 month prison sentence. Scooter Libby is still a convicted felon, still owes the quarter of a million dollar fine and is still under two years worth of community supervision (read: probation).

The shrieking and squalling from those politically opposed to President Bush has been … awe-inspiring.

I haven’t seen that many temper-tantrums and breath-holdings since I last stumbled into a Kindergarten class, truly.

Apparently, the decision of President Bush to commute this particular prison sentence is the death knell for American democracy.

I’m not making that up — check DailyKos.

Also, the decision of President Bush to commute a prison sentence is actually a shot across the bow of the judicial and legislative branches of the Government, informing them that they are actually powerless before George Bush.

Again, I’m not making this up.

Chief among the outraged is Keith Olbermann, who hauled off and demanded the resignation of the POTUS and the VPOTUS for this commutation — amongst a laundry list of other things.

I’m tired, I’m sunburned and I’m in a foul mood, so this probably isn’t going to be as polished as one would like.


I want Mr. Olbermann to tell me why, exactly, President Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libbey’s sentence of non-violent perjury is worthy of a harangue, but President Clinton’s commutation of sixteen FALN terrorists convicted of robbery, bomb-making, sedition, conspiracy, firearms violations and bomb-making is worthy of … not a peep.

Why is this? Olbermann was in media at the time, surely there are transcripts.

Congress condemned President Clinton’s decision to commute these sentences by 95-2 in the Senate and 311-41 in the House. When Congress investigated, President Clinton refused to turn over documents related to his decision to grant clemency, citing executive privilege. Where was Mr. Olbermann’s outrage at this?

Why is President Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence for perjury a death-knell for American democracy, but President Clinton’s commutation of the sentence of Henry Cisneros for perjury was met with silence? Why?

Marc Rich — fully pardoned by President Clinton for tax evasion and illegally trading with Iran during the height of the Iran Hostage crisis — no outrage, no declarations of the powerlessness of the US judicial and legislative branches of Government.

Yet, Scooter Libby — who didn’t trade with Iran for his own enrichment at a time when Iran was holding Americans hostage — gets his sentence for obstruction and perjury commuted and the whole sodding sky is falling. Why is this, Mr. Olbermann?

President Bush’s commutes the prison sentence of Scooter Libby and Mr. Olbermann acts like Ragnarok has arrived, and the sky is about to land right on his head.

When President Clinton issued 140 pardons and commutations on his last day in office, Mr. Olbermann was a media figure at the time. Can anyone get me transcripts of the Olbermann vents about those 140 Clinton pardons for drug dealers, embezzlers, liars, mail fraudsters, bank robbers, extorters, racketeers, and spies?

Presidential pardons have been around since George Washington pardoned the leadership of the Whiskey Rebellion — why is this one commutation such an outrage?

Don’t bother answering that — the answer is obvious.


I'm charmed.
Independence Day 2007

29 thoughts on “Hypocrisy.”

  1. Well, ‘Dog, you know as well as I do that reason doesn’t factor into these bursts of moral outrage.

    It’d be nice to see an attempt to justify it, though.

  2. The Great Democratic and Liberal Media “Double” Standard is firmly in action. I think that Mr Obermann needs to get himself into a hospital and have an injection of Integrity.


  3. I seem to recall a little bit of outrage regarding some of the pardons Clinton made on his way out of office. Certainly not to the level that is so obvious now, but too we have to remember that the internet wasn’t nearly as widespread then as it is now (and the media wasn’t quite as blatantly biased)and that does make a good bit of difference in the overall perception of the reaction. Add to that a trashy-drama addicted public and a media that has traded its credibility for ratings, pseudoemotional reporting, and obvious bias and you have the makings of a lot of mountains…

    And as far as presidential pardons go, how ’bout old Ford, huh? Pardoned the previous leader of this great nation for some heavy-duty stuff there. Democracy still stands, though. I suppose these folks forgot about that.

  4. Why not just go ahead and actually pardon Libby? They’re going to crucify you either way. Why the half measure? Why this wishy washy weasel sorta kinda “I did but I really didn’t” quasi pardon?

    Talk about gutless. Or is it nutless?

  5. Oh, If you think Olbermann was bad, you should hear what that nutwrench, pillory clinton is saying about it..and her husband who is now trying to justify those pardons.
    I say we clean out congress and start over.
    there’s so much crap being done by BOTH sides, and very little of it is in the best interests of our country.

    I’m lucky, I live in NE Tennessee, where my senators have common sense..the problem is, they carry little weight in congress. they’re not part of any important committees..just decent, freedom loving folks looking out for their poor state.

  6. I say we clean out congress and start over.

    It won’t happen. At least not by the voters because too many people are brainwashed into believing in Congress.

    The best thing that could happen to this country is a lava-filled fault line suddenly opening up beneath the Capitol building during a full session of Congress.

  7. Not bad for a tired, sunburned guy, LD.

    At the time of his commutations, I thought Clinton’s lists of pardonees were absolutely unconscionable, but held in relief against the righteous indignation over the Libby commutation, they are astronomical in their sheer offensiveness. Patti Hearst? I’m ok with her being pardoned, she having been brainwashed. Mark Rich and all the rest of those? Well, their brainwashing is no excuse. May they stew in their own juices.

  8. Another factor in outrage is the timing–There’s not a whole lot of point in getting worked up over a last-day pardon, when the election is over and the other side won. I’m not sure the President should even have the power to pardon after election day in his 8th year in office.

  9. Well, here’s the thing. Bush said some very bold things regarding the Valerie Plame leak and the persons responsable being held accountable. Now, we see Bush being completely two faced and communing the prison sentence of the only person convicted of any crime related to the leak. What this does is it keeps Libby out of jail while his appeals work through the courts. Undoubtably Bush would like to see the conviction overturned, but if the appeals uphold the conviction Bush could still grant a full pardon closer to his exit from office. As Sevesteen said, not much point in getting worked up when the pardoning president is on his way out.

    Really, is 30 months at Club Fed. so bad for being convicted of obstruction of justice, making false statements, and two counts of perjury? Especially when the best evidence points to Libby’s obstruction having obscured evidence that might have led to charges against those more directly responsable for the leak, such as Armitage and maybe even Cheney.

  10. Actaully, I haven’t heard such squalling since the close examination of the blue dress Monica L. wore when in the Oval office with Clinton…

  11. Lawdog,

    I am in full agreement with you on the whinging of the usual suspects.

    Where I part company with the Bush apologists is in the “Oh, yeah? Just look at what HE did!” argument. Willie Sutton robbed banks. That does not in any way excuse Bonny & Clyde.

    There is much to dislike about the Dubya regime. The only good I can say at this point, the Roberts and Alito nominations (results pending) excepted, is that he kept that so-and-so Kerry out of the office.

  12. Oh, come on, anonymous. The special prosecutor wasn’t actually trying to nail someone for ‘outing’ Sooper Sekrit Valerie. The source of the leak was common knowledge at that point. I can’t see how Libbys’ testimony blocked that ‘investigation’ – but then again, that wasn’t the point of the whole dog-n-pony show. Embarrassing the White House was the point – and still is. For this goal, you’d send a man to prison for what amounted to a couple of (almost certainly) innocent memory lapses which didn’t directly impinge on the case?
    I am grown increasingly dismayed by the manner in which otherwise sane people can excuse apparent hydrophobia and the rabid tantrums thrown by the democratic party.

  13. Didn’t Clinton pardon his own brother? And I think he pardoned Herself’s brother too.

  14. As a Canadian, I look on in dismay when I see that Hillary and the “cigar Man ” may actually get put back in. Opposite roles of course.
    Not that our politicians are any better at times.

  15. I think a lot of the Mark Rich pardon had to do with the fact that his ex-wife, Denise, was polishing the Presidential porpoise, in addition to donating gobs of cash.

    Frankly, if Sandy “Docs in my Britches” Burglar can get a slap on the wrist fine for STEALING and DESTROYING documents that incriminated the Clintons from the National Archives, I’m OK with Scooter’s pardon.

  16. Mark, actually there was also a very personal vendetta involved. Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the prosecutor had tried to prosecute Mark Rich and Scooter Libby was the one that got Rich off. I “think” that is the only case Fitzgerald has ever lost as a prosecutor.

    Also, Libby IS being held accountable, he has paid the $250K fine, and as a convicted felon, can no longer practice law; e.g. he is truly being punished. The only thing that was done was a commutation of the actual jail time, that in and of itself is NOT a pardon.

  17. So ANY pardon or commutation is acceptable because the “other side” has already abused the privilege?

  18. Naw, Dawg, it ain’t Ragnorak yet.. We’re just starting Fimbulvetr. I’d say that a lot more of the public outrage is related to nepotism and pointing this out as “one more Good Ol’ Boy network” abuse of power. Not that the GOBn hasn’t been an ongoing problem for ages, but it’s been a prevelant theme in the media this term.

    The faster spread of communication and media saturation on so many places online has really increased the number of people paying attention. And, everyone needs something to bitch about. Most people just aren’t happy if they can’t be negative.

  19. Mark said…
    The Great Democratic and Liberal Media “Double” Standard is firmly in action. I think that Mr Obermann needs to get himself into a hospital and have an injection of Integrity.

    Brain surgery.

    An installation, to be precise.

  20. Frankly, I was pretty pissed at the commutation of the sentence of Scooter Libby. He illegally released information that could have caused the bodily harm of a US CIA agent, because her spouse was opposed to the Bush administration. He then lied about it, under oath. He was convicted, and should spend years in prison.

    While I was pissed, I didn’t whine about it– clemency and pardons and communtations are executive privelidge.

    “And as far as presidential pardons go, how ’bout old Ford, huh? Pardoned the previous leader of this great nation for some heavy-duty stuff there. Democracy still stands, though. I suppose these folks forgot about that.”

    Babs, I respectfully suggest that was different. If he hadn’t pardoned Nixon for Watergate, this nation, already hurt, would have reeled for years under the trials.

    Better to move the hell on.

  21. So ANY pardon or commutation is acceptable because the “other side” has already abused the privilege?

    No, but hinting that President Bush is the first President to do it, and that the Republic is doomed as a result, is sophistry of the basest sort.

  22. All,
    Please note that Valerie was NEVER a covert operative, and there fore could NOT be outed. When the strory was told Libby, Libby didn’t tell it.

    Fitzpatrick was digging for anything, and would have dug endlessly, no matter what, until something was found.

    None of us could stand that kind of scrutiny.

    The problem I have with the whole thing is the obvious bias, the Bush Presidents have used the pardon less than the rest, in recent history, as was pointed out, a cummutation of sentence is not a pardon. The mans career is ruined, his livelyhood removed, his family will be punished as much as he will. Putting him in prison, Club Fed. as dismissively stated, will put great hardship on innocent and uninvolved family.

    I posted about this 457 for Clinton and I think 117 for Bush. Numbers don’t make it right, but if you are talking about challenges to the judicial system, who challenged the most?

  23. I don’t have a problem with him commuting Libby’s sentence per se. I have a problem with the hypocracy that Libby’s sentence can be commuted immediately without any appeals necessary but Compeon, Ramos, and Hernandez have to exhaust all appeals before even being CONSIDERED for a pardon. That is a bit much if you ask me and that tells me all sorts of things about Bush. None of them complementary.

  24. Matt G,

    Libby was not the one who leaked Plame’s name. That would have been Richard Armatage of the State Department, himself no great friend of Cheney. I’d also point out that it’s a bit difficult to be covert when you’re driving through the front gates of Langley Monday through Friday, and are married to someone who, because of his former job, draws a great deal of attention from foriegn inteligence services. She may have been covert in the past, The Company has been (understandably)a bit vauge on that point, but she certainly was not at the time that the contriversy started, nor had she been for the five years prior to the so-called scandal.

  25. No, Libby wasn’t the leaker. No, Plame wasn’t a covert asset at the time. Yes, the prosecution was probably politically motivated, as was the leak.

    However, I suspect the outrage comes from the notion that *any* President has to have some high polished nads to commute or pardon anyone from his own administration who was convicted for actions committed on his own watch.

    IMO, perjury is still perjury, and isn’t that what got Clinton impeached in the first place? Politics is about appearances, and this commutation of sentence certainly gives the appearance of an abuse of power, especially in light of the actions of both POTUS and VPOTUS in recent months.

    Just my two cents. Still, love the blog, ‘Dog.

  26. Dog,

    Respectfully, I submit that your argument is a fallacy that we in the computer biz call `Pot meet Kettle’.

    Before I rant, I want you to know that I am no liberal/Democrat apologist. I think my philosophy is much as your own, sorta Libertarian, meaning the government that interferes the least is the best.

    The problem with the Libby pardon is that it points back to the rotten core of the Bush administration. There is a half remembered promise that Bush made: anyone breaking the law in his administration would be subject to the law like anyone else. Until now. Thus the problem.

    I remember a time a while back while waiting for my brother-in-law to finish milking at the small Appalachian farm my wife’s family owned, back when you could make a living milking. I was at the creek that ran in the valley between the two mountain ridges. There were yellow jackets. I picked up a flat creek rock and smashed one. And another and another and so on. Then there was an audible hum in the air, pissed-off yellow jackets.

    When 9/11 occurred I remember writing:

    “The perpetrators of these actions should suffer the devasting consequences their actions deserve. This includes Bin Laden, his training camps, and the Taliban that give them sanctuary.

    However, we should also consider why some Muslims turn extremist and what we can do to prevent that. My suggestion is to support proper education (meaning math/science/anything rational) in these hotbeds. The next problem is that to provide education we must also have an environment where education is possible. So I suggest that instead of bombing all Muslims to kingdom-come that we foster an environment where they can become educated.”

    I was blasted for that sentiment that day for being a faggot liberal. I thought it was a perfectly conservative idea in that this was a way to get the most bang per dollar spent. As a scientist I have always believe the least amount of destruction (entropy) to acheive a result is the best way.

    It was later that Bush decided to invade Iraq.

    This is my opinion. I think GWB invaded Iraq to get Saddam because Daddy didn’t.

    Also my opinion, I think because Iraq was invaded (unprovoked mind you) that Al-Qaeda combatants were (are) drawn to Iraq to confront US soldiers and I don’t think Al-Qaeda combatants were present before the invasion.


    IMO GWB has done more harm to the constitution and common law than any executive in our short history. IMO anything the opposition party (meaning Democrats) has to offer leaves me equally noxious.

    I know I am a day late and a dollar short and that this rant will never be read, but I had to say it.

  27. Bushwa.

    This would be a “pot meet Kettle ” fallacy if I were arguing that because Clinton did it, it’s okay for Bush to do it.

    Now, unless my powers of writing have gone badly agley, I’m not arguing that.

    What I am attempting to illustrate — seemingly rather poorly — is the efforts of Mr. Olberman and the rest of the Democratic whingers to hint that the Republic is doomed because of this one commutation — when they’re not broadly hinting that the President really doesn’t have powers of commutation; or hinting that no President would ever commute a sentence.

    The word you are looking for isn’t “fallacy”. The word you are looking for is “sophistry” — as in “specious arguments used to deceive an audience”, “persuading an audience without caring if their argument is factual or logical”, and “appealing to the audiences predjudices and emotions rather than logic” — and I aim it squarely at Mr. Olberman and the rest of the Democratic spittle-slingers.

    I don’t give a flying damn about this particular commutation, nor do I give a flying damn about any of the previous several thousand Presidential pardons and commutations — what I do give a damn about is Mr. Olberman and the rest of his ilk using their Media base to spread lies through clever hints and ommissions — and nobody calling them on it.

  28. Gotcha dog. Sorry for the misunderstanding… you are spot on about my misunderstanding and I promise to read your arguments a lot more soberly^Wcarefully from now on.

    The first sentence/paragraph of Article II Section 2 of the US Constitution clearly states “The President … shall have Power to grant … Pardons for Offences against the United States”.

    GWB was legitimately within his purview granting the pardon. The `crimes’ committed by Libby are small potatoes in the Grand Scheme of Things.

    The Democratic spin (I suppose `spin’ takes up less space than `propaganda’) smells like bloodlust, trying to kick someone while they are down.

    There is so much spin and propaganda today that it is hard to envision the entire elephant.

    There is a question I have been wanting to ask you for a long time, long before you started this blog. Why are you a Peace Officer?

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