Unfortunately at this point, he's so deeply into a defensive game that this will only secure his standing among the bulk of the 26-percenters*, and of course, Dick Cheney. So Scooter avoids prison, but still must pay a quarter of a million dollars in fines and the conviction stays on his record, at least until five minutes to midnight, January 19, 2009.
I have to say, this is the smartest move Bush could make. If he'd let Scooter go to prison, we'd be mocking the 22-percenters*. Bush will probably see a couple of points shake off by commuting his buddy's sentence, but this still leaves us mocking the 24-percenters*. It's perfect Bush logic. And in Bush's logic, Bush always wins.
* Yes, I know that I'm merely pulling the lowest number from the very many polls that exist, some of which have him all the way in the low 30s, but it's all in fun!
Update By Cernig. Raw Story has the reaction from CREW:
Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, who is representing the Plame and her husband Ambassador Joe Wilson in a civil suit against Libby and other top Bush administration officials, slammed the decision.That's what I see too. Raw Story also has reactions from Conyers and Reid:
"First, President Bush said any person who leaked would no longer work in his administration. Nonetheless, Scooter Libby didn’t leave office until he was indicted and Karl Rove works in the White House even today," Sloan said in a statement sent to RAW STORY. "More recently, the vice president ignored an executive order protecting classified information, claiming he isn’t really part of the executive branch. Clearly, this is an administration that believes leaking classified information for political ends is justified and that the law is what applies to other people."
Sloan's message was echoed by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.Like Bush's legacy to history wasn't indelibly tarnished already. Waxman is now promising a further probe of the White House's actions and "the circumstances that lead to this leak and the President's decision today." Impeach, ferchrissakes!
"Until now, it appeared that the President merely turned a blind eye to a high ranking Administration official leaking classified information. The President's action today makes it clear that he condones such activity," he said in a statement e-mailed to RAW STORY. "This decision is inconsistent with the rule of law and sends a horrible signal to the American people and our intelligence operatives who place their lives at risk everyday."
And, Senator Harry Reid, Democratic Majority Leader, called the commutation 'disgraceful.'
"The President's decision to commute Mr. Libby’s sentence is disgraceful. Libby’s conviction was the one faint glimmer of accountability for White House efforts to manipulate intelligence and silence critics of the Iraq War. Now, even that small bit of justice has been undone," Reid said in a statement. "The Constitution gives President Bush the power to commute sentences, but history will judge him harshly for using that power to benefit his own Vice President’s Chief of Staff who was convicted of such a serious violation of law."