Monday, March 12, 2007

Pardoning Scooter

After the 2004 election, George Bush said he had earned "political capital" and intended to use it. The statement seemed to be an implicit acknowledgement that he had snuck into the Presidency by the barest of margins. As if only when he had finally acheived a majority could he exercise power as he willed. Really the only difference between this term and last is that at the end of this one, Bush will pardon all of his incriminated friends. A good thing for Scooter Libby but bad for the Republican Party.

While the personal tragedy of a trusted asset in the Republican Party will be lessened, the party will suffer the ravages for many years. As the election approaches, Democrats will be able to make hay over the security breaches of the Bush administration. In fact, the "Daddy" party hasn't been fulfilling its role in a number of "security" related areas, which will restrict their ability to negate the damages of the Libby saga. The pardon, which will almost certainly happen, will send a signal that Republicans are soft on crime, something that is almost universally attributed to Democrats.

We all know that when Presidents leave power, they give passes to all of their friends who did underhanded jobs in the pursuit of power. The mere fact that President's do have the ability to pardon gives their operatives the notion that their crimes are somehow less than those of others. Nixon's statements that he couldn't commit crimes because he was the president are a clear indication of the breadth of power conveyed by the office. Perhaps Scooter wouldn't have gone so far in his pursuit of the Wilson family without this reinsurance, but the power to acquit is a necessary component of the checks and balance that make the American government great. However it does ensure that a man convicted on multiple counts of obstructing justice will never serve a days time.

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