The outrage isn't the pardon (which is what we should call it), it's that this is the final piece of evidence that President Bush has written off the American people. Yet again despite overwhelming polls that showed the American people did not want the president to free Scooter Libby, he commuted his sentence. The President is operating like a dictator with 18 months to live. He said recently that history will judge him -- that he won't be judged until after he's dead. In effect he's saying he's accepted that this generation of Americans have rejected him. And he's telling the American people he won't listen -- we can't judge him because he won't let us.
I find it ironic -- no, it is too serious, so I find it frightening that Scooter Libby's cause became the cause celebre of conservatives. We went through the entire saga of impeaching President Clinton for lying in testimony while watching the conservatives act like the crowds screaming for blood at the Roman Coliseum. Yet, now Scooter Libby, the convicted felon, is their cause.
William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard and a leading advocate of pardoning Libby in today's Washington Post, described yesterday as "a very good moment" for the president. "By acting here, he is showing to conservatives the kind of leadership that made conservatives loyal to Bush once and could make them loyal once more," Kristol said.
At least when the conservatives are advocating to take away women's rights or prevent gay people from getting married or even occasionally worrying about third world poverty and disease, it has been out of principle. Now their cause is to free convicted criminals. The Scooter Libby case is only about power. Their power. And they want to President to bow to it. But he is really much too busy exercising his abuse of power independently.
So the conservatives in his party who laud this action and then complain about the very same dictatorial behavior when he doesn't listen to them on issues like Immigration, Iraq, Harriet Miers, Alberto Gonzales, etc. -- well they get what they deserve. As for the rest of us, we'll have to wait 100 years to judge.