Well, this is just peachy:
President Bush spared former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby from a 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak case Monday, stepping into a criminal case with heavy political overtones on grounds that the sentence was just too harsh.
You do the crime, you do the time. The jury said Scooter Libby did the crime. He should do the time.
The Republican Party is going to pay a huge, huge price for this.
UPDATE: This is not surprising:
Clemency petitions are normally reviewed by the Justice Department, which investigates the case and seeks input from the federal prosecutor who brought the case before issuing a recommendation to the president. A government official told CNN that Bush did not consult with the Justice Department before rendering his decision.
Of course, he doesn’t have to consult with anyone — but a failure to work within the usual process fuels the perception, which I share, that this was an extraordinary and unjustifiable act. Just because you have the raw power to do something doesn’t make it right. This wasn’t right.
UPDATE x2: I agree with Orin Kerr, who provides a little perspective on just how special Libby’s commutation is:
I find Bush’s action very troubling because of the obvious special treatment Libby received. President Bush has set a remarkable record in the last 6+ years for essentially never exercising his powers to commute sentences or pardon those in jail. His handful of pardons have been almost all symbolic gestures involving cases decades old, sometimes for people who are long dead. Come to think of it, I don’t know if Bush has ever actually used his powers to get one single person out of jail even one day early. If there are such cases, they are certainly few and far between. So Libby’s treatment was very special indeed.
Yes it was. And now Republicans are going to get some special treatment at the hands of voters.
Don’t kid yourself: this sort of thing is very significant to swing voters. It’s like the Foley business in the last election. Yes, we were already going to get beaten in 2008 because of Iraq. But now, we’re going to get slaughtered.
This particular convicted felon wasn’t worth it.