Dubya obviously believes members of his Evil Cabal are better than average Americans. They're above the law. They certainly don't belong in jail. Given this deeply held belief, what else could King George do but commute the jail sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice?
Libby's lies made it impossible to determine what really happened relating to the outing of covert CIA agent, Valerie Plame, which struck a serious blow to America's ability gather intelligence on nuclear weapons. But Scooter is one of the boys and was looking out for the team! Why should he go to jail for that?
In the topsy turvy world of Bush justice, Paris Hilton deserves to spend more time in jail than someone who lies to a grand jury on an issue of national security.
But members of Dubya's own party seem to think that perjury is serious business. They also believe that it's a fundamental principle of American justice that all men must be treated equally.
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) showed little tolerance for special treatment of the powerful:
How can parents instill values and morality in their children? How can educators teach our children? How can the rule of law for every American be applied equally if we have two standards of justice in America--one for the powerful and the other for the rest of us?
Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) agreed, pointing out that the Senate does not take perjury lightly:
He is not above the law. If an ordinary citizen committed these crimes, he would go to jail. Many senators have voted to remove federal judges guilty of perjury, and I have no doubt that the Senate would do so again.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) had some inspirational words as well:
[S]omething needs to be said that is a clear message that our rule of law is intact and the standards for perjury and obstruction of justice are not gray. And I think it is most important that we make that statement and that it be on the record for history.
I very much worry that with the evidence that we have seen that grand juries across America are going to start asking questions about what is obstruction of justice, what is perjury. And I don't want there to be any lessening of the standard. Because our system of criminal justice depends on people telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is the lynch pin of our criminal justice system and I don't want it to be faded in any way.
Of course, all of these senators were talking about Bill Clinton in 1999, not Scooter Libby in 2007. They're oddly quiet this time around. But does that make their words any less true?
And note that Bush commuted Libby's prison sentence. He didn't pardon him. I've heard several people speculate that this is because Libby can continue to appeal the fines. The White House has repeatedly lowered the Cone Of Silence over "an ongoing investigation", so the stonewalling can continue. But Scooter receives his "Get Out Of Jail Free" card because, of course, he's better than the rest of us.
It seems inconceivable that Bush would take such a huge dump on the American judicial system right before Independence Day. But lately Bush is like a torpedo shot toward the ocean floor, sinking lower all the time and showing no signs of slowing down.
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