Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Beg Pardon?

From the Washington Post:

I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000 for lying to investigators about his role in leaking the identity of an undercover CIA officer.

“Evidence in this case overwhelmingly indicated Mr. Libby’s culpability,” U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said moments before he handed out the sentence. The judge said he was sentencing Libby “with a sense of sadness. I have the highest respect for people who take positions in our government and appreciate tremendously efforts they bring to bear to protect this country.”

At the same time, Walton said, “I also think it is important we expect and demand a lot from people who put themselves in those positions. Mr. Libby failed to meet the bar. For whatever reason, he got off course.”

Just before Walton pronounced the sentence, Libby briefly appealed to the judge. After thanking Walton for the court’s courtesy and kindness during the lengthy proceedings, Libby said: “It is respectfully my hope that the court will consider along with the jury verdict my whole life. Thank you your honor.”

Well, the Orcosphere now all has something to weep, wail, gnash their teeth, and generally get all pissy over, and the on-line petitions to the White House to pardon Mr. Libby are in the works, I’m sure. The underlying and overarching claim will be that that what Mr. Libby did — obstruction of justice — isn’t really a crime here; all he did was forget to tell the federal prosecutor a few details about his role in the outing of Valerie Plame.

My, my, how times have changed; the right wing certainly has become liberal in their thinking about the Rule of Law. Why, it was just 1998 — nine short years ago — that they impeached Bill Clinton and brought the government to a screeching halt based on the accusation that Mr. Clinton had obstructed justice and forgot to tell the federal prosecutor a few details about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Oh, but that was about a blow job, not outing a covert CIA agent. That makes all the difference, see? It was about sex, and of course that is the most important thing in the world.

The catch in getting a pardon is that in accepting it, Mr. Libby thereby admits to the crimes he’s being punished for. Then all the wind goes out of the argument that what he did wasn’t a crime — you can’t be pardoned for being innocent — and therefore the righties will thereby be making the case that Yes, Scooter did break the law. You can’t have it both ways.

Oh, wait…these are Republicans.