Arguments to Pardon Libby, to the Circular File

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Now maybe I’m just the liberal rabble-rouser the right likes to believe I am, but pardon Libby: huh? A political scandal that ends in jail time for someone who worked in the White House is one that has real heft to it. But even the liberal(ish) American Prospect is calling for a pardon.

Now to play devil’s advocate for a moment: Say this is a political battle, left and right in the trenches. How many of the right came to the left’s aid during Clinton’s absurd political persecution (cherry on the top of which sundae came today when henchman Newt Gingrich admitted that he was having an affair at the time he was impeaching Clinton for having an affair)? Precious few. Not only that, but many Democrats and leftists broke ranks to speak out against Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich. And the case for doing partisan battle has never been stronger: This administration is shredding the constitution and making every department of the government partisan from top to bottom. (For a micro-tour, click here and here.)

Now let’s take the arguments on their face. The Prospect says we should pardon Libby because “The offenses of which [he] has been convicted pale in comparison with the high crimes that have gotten us trapped in Iraq and that, even now, remain unacknowledged and largely unpunished.” Say what? The column reads like a celebration that finally someone in this corrupt administration has been taken to task with “pardon Libby” stuck on the top and the bottom. The time has already been spent going after Libby—even if “he’s small potatoes” were a good argument, it would have made sense a year ago but not now. It’s not a good argument: If you work in the White House, don’t lie on the stand in a probe about endangering the life of someone serving her country. Cover up for someone higher, do time.

Word to the Prospect: You know your argument is messed up when you agree with Tom DeLay. Here’s the illogical platitude the oustered uber-partisan House leader offered: “In their wisdom, our Founding Fathers gave our chief executive the authority to issue pardons in order to better balance the scales of justice.” Which is even more ironic than it seems given that pleas for a pardon come amid revelations that the Bush Justice Department fired prosecutors who weren’t sufficiently partisan. Balance the scales of justice? More like sit their fat white asses on the right side.

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