David Limbaugh

If I were Bush, I would pardon Libby because I don't believe he is guilty and I don't believe he should have to shoulder the punishment for the liberals' fabricated Bush-lied "crime." I believe that at worst, Libby's memory is fallible, like all the rest of us. If I believed he actually lied deliberately to the court -- I wouldn't favor clemency.

But think about this. By commuting Libby's sentence, or pardoning him, Bush is hurting himself in order to grant mercy to someone else. Regardless of conservative support for leniency, history books will doubtlessly record this as a cloud on Bush's integrity.

The Clintons, by contrast, abused the pardon power to help themselves, their family, friends and contributors. Their use of the power differed in kind rather than degree with Bush's.

We've recently been reminded of the rash of Clinton pardons at the close of their second term in exchange for political contributions and other self-serving reasons. But even before that black mark on America's presidential history, I chronicled in my first book Clinton's abuse of the power to pardon FALN terrorists to boost Hillary's popularity with Puerto Rican voters in her New York Senate race.

He did so, even though the Justice Department's recently released Five-Year Interagency Counterterrorism and Technology Crime Plan concluded the release of FALN members would heighten the risk of domestic terrorism. He did so, despite the opposition of the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons and various United States attorneys. He did so despite the fact that between 1974 and 1983, FALN bombed more than 130 American military, business, and political "targets," the most devastating of which killed four and injured more than 60 in lower Manhattan in 1975.

Scooter Libby represents a threat to no one. Yet the liberals who are squealing the loudest about Libby are the very ones who pooh poohed Clinton's abuses and ignored his FALN and other indisputably improper pardons.

For all the talk about Bush violating procedure by granting clemency before Libby formally requested it, the Clintons set the precedent on that practice as well, proceeding with the FALN pardons before they were requested. And if you needed further proof, the Clintons' pardons were politically motivated, understand that they even took the unprecedented action of recruiting people like Jimmy Carter to lobby them for the pardons.

Two wrongs don't make a right. But I truly don't believe Libby's clemency is wrong or selfishly motivated. There is no question that many of the Clintons' were.

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert on law and politics. He recently authored the New York Times best-selling book: "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel."

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