Bush Plays the Get Out of Jail (Not Free) Card For Scooter and Editorials Are Apoplectic for Different Reasons
It was safe to assume The New York Times would rip President Bush to shreds for commuting Scooter Libby's sentence. But you wouldn't have expected The Wall Street Journal to essentially do the same.
Of course, they reached that conclusion by taking entirely different routes. Noted the Times:
Mr. Bush’s assertion that he respected the verdict but considered the sentence excessive only underscored the way this president is tough on crime when it’s committed by common folk. As governor of Texas, he was infamous for joking about the impending execution of Karla Faye Tucker, a killer who became a born-again Christian on death row. As president, he has repeatedly put himself and those on his team, especially Mr. Cheney, above the law.
So, no great surprise, then, from Andy Rosenthal & Co. about what transpired yesterday.
To call the Journal's editorials right-wing is to severely understate the case on most days. The early betting had been that Paul Gigot and his gang would be singing the sweetest of hosannas to Bush for keeping one of their main men out of the pokey. But a lot of dissonance emerged instead.
[B]y failing to issue a full pardon, Mr. Bush is evading responsibility for the role his Administration played in letting the Plame affair build into fiasco and, ultimately, this personal tragedy.
The Journal is miffed because Libby was taking the fall for something that was most likely not of his own making, at least in their view. Mr. Libby deserved better from the President whose policies he tried to defend when others were running for cover.
Whether he should have followed their lead is something the Journal doesn't address because it would mean actually criticizing Bush administration policy, something it has been loathe to do even in the most obvious and odious of circumstances.
Gigot has been blindingly loyal to Bush, even to the point of risking the Journal's credibility in the process. The editorial conveys the bitterness upon learning that Bush could not muster the guts to respond in kind.
For the Journal, committing a felony takes a backseat to fealty. He's one of us. Leave him be. Even Dubya found that hard to stomach.