Bush's commutation -- substanstially distinct from a pardon in several ways -- casts this utterly useless profile into rather sharp relief. A man in philosophical conflict with himself does not clearly and quickly tell seventy-five percent of the country to go fuck themselves, as Bush most assuredly did. A person who is searching for answers, as Baker's sources so oleaginously put it, does not remain stuck in one gear forever, governing and delegating with nothing at all besides bristling, boneheaded contempt for processes, consequences, and most of all people.
This is obviously not just about Libby, though of course he is merely the most recent shining example of this crew's abuse of law and procedure. Nor is it about Marc Rich, whom Libby himself represented for 18 years until Clinton finally gave him his own ill-advised pardon. Nor is it about Orlando Bosch, or Cap Weinberger, or any other number of scumbags who were given free pass for their serious indiscretions. This is a plenary power that needs curtailing, and has for some time.
It's about an increasingly desperate administration that only sees will to power. Think about it -- they're clearly scared shitless over what Libby knows and might reveal, or they wouldn't risk hobbling themselves for the duration, coming off of what was seen universally as an unequivocal defeat on the immigration bill. All they have left is bluff and bluster; Bush may just finish the job and formally pardon Libby, and give him a Medal O' Freedom to boot. He might as well, when you get right down to it. The Fred Thompson faction of mouth-breathers would certainly appreciate it, though they would probably also appreciate having the correct number of chromosomes.
One thing I've noticed in the many blogs who have contrasted Bush's sudden burst of mercy with his death-penalty track record as gubnor: not a one of them has mentioned Bush's sole commutation of a death sentence in Texas.
Henry Lee Lucas.
If you care at all anymore about where this country's going and what these people are doing to it, the Libby commutation, however symbolic, has to make you vomit at least a little in your mouth. It's literally, physically sickening, to consider the in-your-face bravado with which these people operate, and with which the various usual media peons praise the "elegant compromise" of it all.
It is neither elegant, nor is it a compromise. It is a get-out-of-jail-free card to a stone-cold traitor, pure and simple. Libby's conduct was nothing short of treasonous, and only a fool believes that this pattern doesn't go all the way to the top. There is no reason not to believe that Cheney, and most likely Bush, knew about the little under-the-table smear campaign that was being run on Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame. This is not a partisan issue, it is a national security issue. It is an issue of accountability.
And there's no reason for the Democrats to pretend any longer that these people can and should be compromised with. There's no reason to cooperate with them on anything, from the lowest routine appointment to revisiting the manifestly failed surge policy in September. No reason to bargain, to debate, to discuss even what's for lunch. There should no longer be even the pretense of civility and comity. We're about to find out just how serious the Democrats actually are about bringing a unified opposition to a lawless, despotic rule of cronyism and incompetence. And they had better be damned serious about it, because clearly nothing else will cut it.
Nor is there any reason for media weasels to play footsie with these fuckers anymore. There is no reason to transcribe anything Pony Blow has to say about anything; if they had any goddamned self-respect they'd turn their backs on him and leave him at the podium, lying to an empty room.
The administration has sent all of us -- citizens, legislators, media lackeys -- a message, loud and clear. What message do we send in return?
[Update: Jeff Wells has some great insights as to the continuing mindset, that which we seem reluctant to truly stand against. I don't necessarily agree with his thesis that semiotics are an all-or-nothing proposition; i.e., it seems fairly obvious to me that, by their nature, signifiers are used to affirm to some and deny to others, lying to all except their purveyors, based on preconceived notions. But I could be misapprehending his contentions.
Regardless, it's going to take more than, as Jeff puts it, our incessant keyboard clatter. They already know we're going to bitch and moan about this bullshit. But what's going to be fucking done about it?]