What are Democratic Presidential candidates saying about Scooter Libby? - 7.3.2007.1
Well the big news among the Presidential candidates today is all the buzz about Mr. Scooter Libby getting a commutation of part of his sentence. I have not seen comments from the Republican candidates, but I will comment and provide what I found on the Democratic candidates.
First of all, what is commutation of a sentence? It is part of the powers of the President. It is similar to a pardon, but it is not that. Pardons nullify a sentence, effectively removing a juries decision. A commutation lessens the punishment for the conviction, effectively modifying a Judges decision. I want that to be clear as many pundits, besides the candidates, are wording their responses as if this were a pardon. Another example of soundbite politics, trying to confuse or obfuscate an issue in order to sound better to voters.
Let me also clarify why there is a mention of this case in the first place. Mr. Libby was convicted of lying to the FBI. After tens of thousands of dollars were spent looking for a conspiracy in the leak that might have revealed a covert agent, this was the only charge made. Depending on your political leaning Mr. Libby was either lying on purpose or lied as a consequence of a bad memory on events several months prior. The conviction was 30 months in jail, $250,000 fine, and a loss of his ability to act as a lawyer – forever.
President Bush removed the jail sentence. That’s it. Mr. Libby still has a conviction on record, still cannot practice law, and still must pay the fine.
Now as for the comments, Senator Biden said
“…I call for all Americans to flood the White House with phone calls tomorrow expressing their outrage over this blatant disregard for the rule of law.”
The rule of law says that the President can commute or pardon any federal prisoner. Where is the law disregarded?
Senator Dodd said,
“…The only ones paying the price for this Administration's actions are the American people.”
It was the Democrats in the Congress that claimed and pursued a conspiracy, that was never found, which happened to cause this event. If there was no pursuit of a conspiracy that no news media in the nation could find, Mr. Libby would be working today.
Mr. Edwards stated,
“Only a president clinically incapable of understanding that mistakes have consequences could take the action he did today…”
Continued in part 2...