In the West Wing, Pardon Is A Topic Too Sensitive to Mention
By Peter Baker - Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
'The sentence imposed on former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby yesterday put President Bush in the position of making a decision he has tried to avoid for months: Trigger a fresh political storm by pardoning a convicted perjurer or let one of the early architects of his administration head to prison.
'The prospect of a pardon has become so sensitive inside the West Wing that top aides have been kept out of the loop, and even Bush friends have been told not to bring it up with the president.'
As with so many difficult issues in the past, Bush believes that, if he ignores this one, it will just go away. After all, this strategy has worked so well for him in the past.
'[T]he conservative National Review posted an editorial on its Web site headlined "Pardon Him."
'The Weekly Standard followed with a cutting article accusing Bush of abandoning Libby: "So much for loyalty, or decency, or courage. For President Bush, loyalty is apparently a one-way street; decency is something he's for as long as he doesn't have to take any risks in its behalf; and courage -- well, that's nowhere to be seen. Many of us used to respect President Bush. Can one respect him still?"'
Well, it's rather late but it's nice to witness the Weekly [Double] Standard finally seeing the light about Bush's performance. Of course, it's probably just rhetoric -- but still . . . .
'Democrats asserted that a pardon would be an outrage. "Serious offenses resulted in the appropriate sentencing of Scooter Libby today," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.). "The president must not pardon him." Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) added: "The Libby case revealed the lengths to which the Bush administration went to manipulate intelligence and discredit its critics."'
I can't say that I agree with Pelosi here. I don't perceive 2 1/2 years as an appropriate sentence given the serious damage that was done to the CIA and Plame's career for the basest of motives: revenge.
See here for the complete text.