What's excessive? President Bush, who suddenly hates excessive punishments, once refused to commute the death sentence of a 33-year-old mentally retarded black man with an IQ of around 60 and the functional skills of a 7-year-old boy.
10 years ago last May, President Bush and Alberto Gonzales received a request for clemency on the day Terry Washington was to be executed for killing a college student in 1987. President Bush skimmed Gonzales' incomplete summary and denied clemency.
Terry Washington was dead before the sun went down.
Regarding the record 152 executions during his two terms as governor, Bush "wrote" in his autobiography, A Charge To Keep, "I don't believe my role is to replace the verdict of a jury with my own." He went on to write, "You know what's interesting? I once swallowed a coin." I just made up that second quote, but I like to imagine that he's the kind of guy who has accidentally swallowed a coin or two.
The truth is that commuting Libby's prison term had nothing to do with any sudden outbreak of Bushie sympathy or humanity. After all, this is the same man who literally smiles from ear-to-Vulcanish-ear when talking about warfare and ordering more soldiers into combat in Iraq.
No, the president's decision had everything to do with: 1) a likely deal between the vice president and Libby's attorneys in which Libby promised to keep the scuttlebutt away from Vice President Cheney in exchange for the VPOTUS promising to see what he could do about the sentence; and 2) Scooter Libby isn't poor, black or retarded.
Jon Swift points out the connection between conservatives shouting about amnesty for immigrants yet supporting Bush giving amnesty to Scooter for breaking the law:
"Glenn Reynolds, who thought the immigration bill sent a message to legal immigrants that "laws are for suckers" predicted that Bush would rise in the polls as some conservatives rallied to his side for commuting Libby's sentence. Michelle Malkin who has excoriated the President over what she called "shamnesty" for illegal immigrants has been largely silent on the Libby case.
If Bush wants to win back the Republican base, there is something he could do that would win them over on both the immigration issue and on justice for Scooter Libby. He could appoint Libby as the new Immigration Czar and give him sweeping new powers to ruthlessly enforce the rule of law. Working with Federal and local law enforcement, Libby's new agency could round up illegal immigrants that break our laws just by being here. At the same time his recent experience with the legal system would give him the compassion and discretion necessary to deal leniently with the small businessmen and homeowners who just needed workers for their restaurants and factories and day laborers to tend their gardens and lawns. And the annual salary for this new job should be $250,000, which would take care of Libby's fine. "