Monday, July 02, 2007
If Bush had in fact concluded that the 2-year prison sentence was excessive, and was, as sure appears to be the case, waiting to see if the Appeals Court would grant Libby's request to stay out of prison during the appeal of his conviction, before acting as he did today, then Bush has absolutely no justification for not having acted before today.
The instance a President (or a Governor, in the case of state crimes) determines that someone has been wronged by the criminal justice system, he has an obligation to IMMEDIATELY take action to correct the injustice.
To do otherwise, as Bush did to Libby, is to leave them 'dangling in the wind', as cruel an act as one person can do to another.
Whether it is of someone who is falsely accused of a crime or someone who has been given an excessive sentence, there is no justification to sit and watch. There is no waiting (as is the case here) to see how the appeals process plays out. There is no waiting to see how the jury rules. There is no waiting to see if the judge overrules the jury or has a change of heart. There is no waiting, PERIOD.
By not acting earlier, Bush left Libby - and Libby's friends and family - worrying that Libby would have to go to jail. By not acting earlier, Bush left Libby having to continue spending money trying to keep from happening something that Bush had already decided wasn't going to happen.
Regardless of where one stands on the issue of Bush setting aside Libby's prison sentence, I think it is pretty clear that Bush was hoping to not have to do what he did today... not because he thought commuting Libby's sentence was wrong but because he didn't want to have to face the criticism from those opposed to his action. He was hoping the Appeals Court would intercede and allow Libby to stay out of jail pending his appeal of his obstruction of justice and perjury conviction. He was hoping someone else would step up and do what he wanted done and what he felt needed to be done. He believed that Libby did not belong in jail... he just wasn't willing to do it himself right away. He allowed Libby to suffer because he was hoping to avoid yet another round of Bush-bashing.