It's a little hard watching law-and-order types contort themselves to argue that "Scooter" Libby shouldn't do time. Talk about jury tampering.
Here's a great quote from an article at The Politico:
A well-connected Republican whose views have reached Bush’s inner circle said that if Libby goes to prison, "It would be seen by the religious and policy conservatives as the president abandoning his loyalty virtue for the hedonistic pleasure of political expediency."
So respecting a jury verdict and enforcing existing laws -- you know, the ones movement conservatives always say are enough to deal with immigration, gun control, marriage -- is a weakness, a fix for a pol. Real men are ... loyal.
A respite wouldn't upset me, with a Sword of Damocles still hanging by a thread above him. Once he's in the slammer there's much less chance he'll be inclined to cooperate.On the other hand, it is downright fun watching Pat Buchanan -- a Nixon White House veteran who knows a little about loyalists doing time -- argue that there is no legitimate basis for President Bush to pardon Libby after his own (embattled, no less) Justice Department secured a conviction and a stiff sentence of 30 months in jail, a $250,000 fine and thousands of hours of community service.
Libby has to go to jail. As a negotiating stance, I'm all for it. But a respite for Libby wouldn't upset me, with a Sword of Damocles still hanging by a thread above him. Once he's in the slammer there's much less chance he'll be inclined to cooperate.
John McLaughlin has an interesting idea how Bush could avoid whatever political fallout a president with a 29% approval rating would endure anyway for earning more electorate wrath: pardon Libby at the same time you fire Alberto Gonzalez.
But there is a certain shame about that since, as I've written, he clearly is holding the bag for bigger fish who have no honor. In that sense he shouldn't have received a terribly harsh sentence. Maybe just a little something for being stupid, a sort of Martha Stewart term. Then maybe he would have even volunteered to serve his time right pending appeal -- just like she did!
But 30 months, not six, it is, and it is certainly part of the prosecution strategy to give no quarter to a frontman with small children in the hope that his memory will return.