Let me make this point, again: I do not believe I have ever been in the same place at the same time as Scooter Libby. I don't think we've ever talked by phone, nor to I think we have ever exchanged e-mails.
I have, however, donated to Scooter Libby's defense fund if only because of the quality of people who have been involved in that effort including neighbor, ally and friend Mary Matalin and former US Ambassador to Australia and Italy, Mel Sembler among many others.
Thank goodness this all happened in a week which was perfectly bisected by Independence Day.
In Washington, what with the House and Senate taking one of the 73 week-long recesses it schedules each year (without regard to whether Republicans or Democrats are in charge), and the mid-week holiday, it seems like half of the Washington area workforce took off Monday and Tuesday; the other half took off Thursday and Friday.
The rest took the whole week.
On Monday President Bush used the power granted to him by Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution and commuted the sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby so that he has to serve no jail time.
It was six months late. If President Bush just would have listened to me, this would have long since been over. I wrote in January of this year when Libby's trial started that he should Pardon Scooter Libby on the day the trial started.
The President didn't pardon Libby, but listening to the wailing and keening by Democrats and their donor-base - The National Press Corps - you would have thought President Bush had not just commuted Libby's sentence but had pardoned him and presented him with the Medal of Freedom.
Although this has been lost by the Left, the President, by commuting and not pardoning, left in place the conviction, the fine, and the "supervised release" which was to have followed the prison term.
That means Scooter Libby remains a convicted felon who cannot practice law and cannot hold any position of trust in the US government meaning he cannot get a security clearance.
That is a big deal here in Your Nation's Capital.
Once Democrats sat down on the curb, fanned themselves, and got over the vapors, they realized that the President had not pardoned Libby, but then got themselves amped up again over whether or not he would pardon Libby at the end of his term because the President would not rule it out on Monday.
Didn't say he would. Didn't say he wouldn't. Didn't think he needed to tell the press corps what he might or might not do 18-or-so months down the road.
Every time I mentioned the name "Marc Rich" on TV this week, Democrats' eyes got real wide, they began quaking like Salem witches, and then formed those little white flecks in the corners of their mouths.
"You Republicans," they seethed, "blame Clinton for everything."
Via Matt Drudge, here's what Bill Clinton, the Patron-Saint-of-Doin'-What-Comes-Naturally, wrote in a NY Times op-ed piece published in February 2001:
"The exercise of executive clemency is inherently controversial. The reason the framers of our Constitution vested this broad power in the Executive Branch was to assure that the president would have the freedom to do what he deemed to be the right thing, regardless of how unpopular a decision might be."
When I reminded my Democratic friends of Clinton's position on "executive clemency" they moved their lips around a good bit like Nero Wolfe and then said, "Well, this is different."
They're right: Clinton pardoned Marc Rich who had fled the country to avoid prosecution. He was pardoned without ever presenting himself stand before the US justice system. President Bush, by commuting a portion of the sentence, left intact the jury's decision.
In his explanation of why he pardoned Marc Rich, President Clinton - in effect - named himself both the decider of fact and the arbiter of punishment.
I suspect the Libby commutation will be over as a matter of public discussion after the Sunday shows have their shot at it.
In the meantime, when your friends on the Left come up to you on Monday in full Selective Outrage mode, don't try to reason with them.
Just smile and nod. It will drive them nuts.
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