Oh George ...
By Kevin Robinson in News on Jul 3, 2007 1:30PM
Calling the sentence imposed on Lewis "Scooter" Libby "harsh" and "excessive," George W. Bush commuted the 30-month sentence on Monday. Not quite the full pardon that some conservatives wanted — he still has to pay a quarter million dollar fine and serve 2 years probation for lying under oath — it certainly left Bush open to criticism, from both sides of the congressional aisle. “He was indicted by a grand jury and convicted beyond the shadow of a doubt by one of the best prosecutors in America, Patrick Fitzgerald, and didn’t have a single member of a 12-member jury stand up with him ... at that point, if you’ve done the crime, you should do the time,” north suburban Congressman Mark Kirk (R-Northbrook) told the press. Dick Durbin invoked Paris Hilton (but not Richard Nixon), and Chicago's own Jesse Jackson Jr. is calling for Bush's impeachment, calling the commutation a very serious crime "against the Constitution of the United States" (Jackson seems to have some of his own ideas about Article 2 of the Constitution.)
While Democrats hammered Bush's obvious lack of will to hold anyone in his administration accountable for their actions - something the president himself seems incapable of embodying anyway - Republicans were subdued in their support of his actions, although a few were downright outspoken in their support of the man. Alan Simpson (R-Wyoming) summed up the political equivalent of 2+2, saying, "He gets hammered every day. They don't think George is doing anything right, so what do you lose?"
Now that Patrick Fitzgerald has done exactly what he wasn't supposed to do, and Jesse Jackson Jr. has started jumping up and down in front of the press crying for mutually assured destruction, we're left with little of anything. No closure on one of the darker chapters of our national history, no end to the disasters of this presidency. In many ways, this is just a symptom of the death of the American Presidency, an institution first diagnosed with a deadly cancer in the Nixon years, and upgraded to terminal N-stage in 1994. With the current state of national politics in this nation, we find ourselves thinking again of Thomas Jefferson, the thoughtful founder of American liberty, and a man steeped in perpetual personal conflict:
God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed ... if they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty ... what country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms ... the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Image via firedoglake.