In a new Newsweek article by Michael Isikoff, the issue of the real source for Bush's communtation of Scooter Libby's 30 months sentence just may have been revealed.
The president was conflicted. He hated the idea that a loyal aide would serve time. Hanging over his deliberations was Cheney, who had said he was "very disappointed" with the jury's verdict. Cheney did not directly weigh in with Fielding, but nobody involved had any doubt where he stood. "I'm not sure Bush had a choice," says one of the advisers. "If he didn't act, it would have caused a fracture with the vice president."
Ah, it's so clear now. If Bush didn't do something to help Libby the passive-aggressive head of Forthbranch would have brooded and pouted for the next 18 months, and if any of you have ever had a taciturn spouse you know that can be a living hell.
As was shown by the four part Washington Post series on Cheney, he manages to get his way within the Bush Whitehouse most of the time, but he doesn't do it by shouting and being loud. He does it by being quiet.
Cheney has changed history more than once, earning his reputation as the nation's most powerful vice president. His impact has been on public display in the arenas of foreign policy and homeland security, and in a long-running battle to broaden presidential authority. But he has also been the unseen hand behind some of the president's major domestic initiatives.
Could you imagine the scene if Bush had been ready to let Libby swing? I can see it now...
- B: "What's wrong honey?"
C: Sigh! Grumble
B: "Can I get you some curly fries - they're delicious?"
C: Eyes roll - more grumbling - some cursing and mumbling under his breath between penguin quacks
B: "Is it the Libby Appeal thingee?"
C: Big Sigh!
B: "I'm sorry but there was nothing I could do. The jury decided, the judge was well within the manditory minimum sentencing guidelines that we've been pushing through the DOJ for years, the appeals court found there was not even a close call as ground to delay his reporting to prison."
C: Exasperated Snort
B: "Fine! FINE!" Gets out of bed in a huff. Stomps to the Big Red Prez-Phone with the Presidential Seal where the dailing buttons should be. (Picks it up, triggering a special Presidential March Ring-Tone at the other end) "Get me Fielding. We have simply got to do something about Scooter" Waits approximately 4.57 seconds. "Fred? What's that you say? Maybe if we commute instead of pardon, we might avoid some of the heat that Billy-Boy took over Marc Rich? In fact, we can use it as yet another example of how we're better than those Liberal Scum! Great Idea Fred, Get right on that and have it ready for my signature by close of business today." Turns back to his (running) mate.
"See, isn't that better?"
C: Wan smile.