There is clearly a movement on the right to have Bush pardon Libby. And, I have been wondering, why on earth would the laity of the right even care about Libby. And after thinking on this a bit, I think I may have come up with a reasonable hypothesis on why this groundswell is taking place.
There doesn’t seem to be any logic to the movement to pardon Libby. They are really grasping at straws. The official line is apparently “yes, he lied under oath, but not in a meaningful way.“(see article and video at think progress) Clearly they are admitting that he committed a crime (lying under oath), and they admit that normally that would be a prosecutable offense. They just don’t agree that what he lied about actually matters. Those of us who have been paying attention know the reality is quite different. What he lied about is actually quite meaningful.
Regardless, this groundswell is selling to the small segment of our population who is not just uninformed but horribly mis-informed. And for some reason, this segment takes every bit of nonsense put to them and become rabid about their cause du jour, even if it contradicts a previous cause they were rabid about just a couple of years ago. (ie: it is criminal to lie under oath about sex, but apparently not a meaningful lie when you are lying about the outing of an undercover agent that puts our entire country at risk).
I don’t believe for a second that they masses of misinformed are behind this on their own. This movement is being fed. The question is by whom and what do they have to benefit from this.
My best guess is that this is tied to Rove. Libby is about to go to jail for telling a lie he was told to tell by his bosses to cover up their illegal outing of an undercover agent in order to retaliate against her husband. And yes, that is a very serious crime that falls under the heading of treason. Anyway, he is clearly not only involved in the outing of a CIA agent, but has taken the role of the fall guy for the rest of the administration. The question is, will he really go to jail for these guys? I wouldn’t. But then again, I wouldn’t have been involved with such unscrupulous folk to begin with.
His options at this point are limited. He can go to jail and serve time quietly, make a deal with prosecutors and give them the real people behind the Plame affair, or get a Presidential pardon.
He probably doesn’t want to go to jail. He does after all have a family to think of and jail, even the nicest ones, is not a place you actually want to be. The motivation to give up his bosses will be high. Their only option to prevent criminal prosecution being brought against themselves by a suddenly loose-lipped Libby is to secure a pardon for Libby so that he isn’t tempted to deal with the prosecutors. And while the Bush administration has somewhat successfully politicized the Department of Justice, they just haven’t totally succeeded, and their attempts to do so are unraveling – which means, they can’t rely on friendly prosecutors looking the other way, especially when the stakes are so high for our country.
But, if the Bush administration just gave Libby a pardon, without this groundswell support they have generated, it would look extremely suspicious, so, I am guessing that they have orchestrated this groundswell movement in support of Libby so they can pretend that they are just doing this to appease their base and not to protect themselves from prosecution. Basically, this movement is being done to ensure themselves that their base won’t abandon them when they issue this pardon, and to give them some cover (even if it is inadequate) from the questions about the propriety of this pardon.
I don’t think that they can afford to not pardon Libby quite honestly and I think that the pretense of this being a hard decision for them is just a game to give cover to their real reasons for pardoning Libby. When (not it) Libby is pardoned, we will loose our best chance of bringing these treasonous jerks to justice for their crimes against our country, and that, in my humble opinion) is the real motive behind the “pardon Libby” movement.