Hypocrisy on the Libby decision

Hypocrisy is never a rare commodity in Washington, D.C., but it is hardto recall an event that has occasioned more doublespeak than President Bush’s decision to commute Scooter Libby’s prison sentence. Reasonable people can debate whether the crime of perjury for which Libby was convicted warranted more or less than his sentence of 30 months in federal prison. But is it too much to ask the president’s critics to show at least a minimal respect for logic and consistency?

Republicans who clamored for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying about his affair in the White House with Monica Lewinsky may justifiably be taken to task now for merely tut-tutting Libby’s crime. Perjury is perjury, regardless of the position of the guilty or the magnitude of the topic misrepresented. Like every other felony, if you commit perjury, be prepared to do some hard time.

But no GOPer is making as much noise as the chorus of the nation’s most prominent Democratic leaders, some of whom should have Googled Clinton’s commutation record before opening fire on Bush and his Libby decision. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, for example, accused Bush of “betraying the American people” and then added that “he has abandoned all sense of fairness when it comes to justice, he has failed to uphold the rule of law.”

Pelosi had a much different understanding of fairness, justice and the importance of upholding the law back in 1999 when Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 imprisoned members of the Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a resolution of disapproval, but Pelosi said she would have voted no had she been present for the tally.

Pelosi was thus defending Clinton’s commutations of sentences received for seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to make bombs, bank robbery and illegal possession of stolen firearms, among other things. Between 1974 and 1983, FALN mounted numerous attacks against this nation’s police and military, killing six people andmaiming many others.

Then there is Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who saw in Bush’s Libby commutation “a clear signal that in this administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice.” Clinton touts her years as First Lady among her qualifications for being president, but she has never publicly repudiated either her husband’s FALN commutations or his pardons of Susan McDougall, convicted of mail fraud, and Marc Rich, the stock speculator convicted of tax evasion. McDougall was a former Clinton business partner and Rich was the former husband of Denise Rich, a major Clinton fundraiser, both of whom clearly qualify as Clinton cronies.

Pelosi and Clinton would be vastly more credible on this issue had they simply said they believe the president was wrong and that Libby should be in the slammer, rather than using him to score cheap political points against Bush.

General OpinionOpinion

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott listens at a rally to commemorate the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside City Hall on Monday, June 1, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Will the Biden Administration help SF speed up police reform?

City has struggled to implement changes without federal oversight

Lowell High School (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students, families call for culture shift at Lowell after racist incident

District to explore changes including possible revision of admissions policy

Alan Wong was among California National Guard members deployed to Sacramento to provide security the weekend before the presidential inauguration. (Courtesy photo)
CCSF board member tests positive for COVID-19 after National Guard deployment

Alan Wong spent eight days in Sacramento protecting State Capitol before Inauguration Day

Due to a lack of votes in his favor, record-holding former Giant Barry Bonds (pictured at tribute to Willie McCovey in 2018) will not be entering the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the near future.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Ex-Giants star Barry Bonds again falls short of Hall of Fame

After striking out yet again in his bid to join Major League… Continue reading

San Francisco firefighter Keith Baraka has filed suit against The City alleging discrimination on the basis of race and sexual orientation.<ins></ins>
Gay black firefighter sues city for discrimination

A San Francisco firefighter who says he was harassed and discriminated against… Continue reading

Most Read