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The Candidates on Libby

by nanne Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 04:46:04 AM EST

Thanks to TPM Election Central, here's an overview of the statements the Democratic US presidential candidates gave on Bush giving Libby a get out of jail free card.

Most of the statements make me think "right on". Except Barack Obama's. That one makes me think "lame on-message spin". I'm calling this one for Hillary Clinton, personally. But there's a poll!

P.S. No Dennis Kucinich statement yet.

P.P.S. Same for Mike Gravel.

Joe Biden: Hours after a federal appeals court ruled that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby would to have to begin serving his prison sentence while appealing his conviction for crimes of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators, President Bush commuted his sentence.

Last week Vice President Cheney asserted that he was beyond the reach of the law. Today, President Bush demonstrated the lengths he would go to, ensuring that even aides to Dick Cheney are beyond the judgment of the law.

It is time for the American people to be heard.

I call for all Americans to flood the White House with phone calls tomorrow expressing their outrage over this blatant disregard for the rule of law.

Bill Richardson: It's a sad day when the President commutes the sentence of a public official who deliberately and blatantly betrayed the public trust and obstructed an important federal investigation. This administration clearly believes its officials are above the law, from ignoring FISA laws when eavesdropping on US citizens, to the abuse of classified material, to ignoring the Geneva Conventions and international law with secret prisons and torturing prisoners.

There is a reason we have laws and why we expect our Presidents to obey them. Institutions have a collective wisdom greater than that of any one individual. The arrogance of this administration's disdain for the law and its belief it operates with impunity are breathtaking.

Will the President also commute the sentences of others who obstructed justice and lied to grand juries, or only those who act to protect President Bush and Vice President Cheney?

Chris Dodd: By commuting Scooter Libby's sentence, the President continues to abdicate responsibility for the actions of his Administration. The only ones paying the price for this Administration's actions are the American people.

Barack Obama: This decision to commute the sentence of a man who compromised our national security cements the legacy of an Administration characterized by a politics of cynicism and division, one that has consistently placed itself and its ideology above the law. This is exactly the kind of politics we must change so we can begin restoring the American people's faith in a government that puts the country's progress ahead of the bitter partisanship of recent years.

John Edwards: Only a president clinically incapable of understanding that mistakes have consequences could take the action he did today. President Bush has just sent exactly the wrong signal to the country and the world. In George Bush's America, it is apparently okay to misuse intelligence for political gain, mislead prosecutors and lie to the FBI. George Bush and his cronies think they are above the law and the rest of us live with the consequences. The cause of equal justice in America took a serious blow today."

Hillary Clinton: Today's decision is yet another example that this Administration simply considers itself above the law. This case arose from the Administration's politicization of national security intelligence and its efforts to punish those who spoke out against its policies. Four years into the Iraq war, Americans are still living with the consequences of this White House's efforts to quell dissent. This commutation sends the clear signal that in this Administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice.

Silly "whose statement do you like best" vote
. Joe Biden 6%
. Bill Richardson 40%
. Chris Dodd 0%
. Barack Obama 0%
. John Edwards 26%
. Hillary Clinton 26%

Votes: 15
Results | Other Polls
This is what Fred "not ready for prime-time" Thompson said:
"I am very happy for Scooter Libby. I know that this is a great relief to him, his wife and children. While for a long time I have urged a pardon for Scooter, I respect the President's decision. This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life."

P.S. Yes this is a bit silly. But as everyone rushes to get a statement in we might as well have fun with them.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 04:52:49 AM EST
Considering that US politics consistently redlines the world's WTF factor, would anyone here like to bet that Thompson won't be the next president?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 06:50:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. Now how much money I'm willing to bet is another thing. But I'll give 5 to 1 odds that he won't. Bets are payable instantly, of course ;-)
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 06:54:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you know, he is the Law&Order® Candidate....

But seriously, the idea fills me with fear and trembling.  The Christian right doesn't like him, though, cuz he's not a ranting-and-raving pro-lifer, which is enough to make him, in their view, "pro-choice."

As the Foreign Policy Passport blog noted last week, bizarrely, Thompson has also been criticized by the right for being a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, which seems like a really strange thing to try to "smear" somebody with.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 07:41:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Granted, but the Christian right doesn't like Guiliani either, or Romney, or McCain. And neither Brownback nor Huckabee seem to be able to break out.
Obviously a lot of Thompson's support is coming from him being on TV and from not being the other guys. That may change, from what I gather his select few Deweyesque campaign appearances thus far have left mostly everyone unimpressed. Still, if it's not him, then who?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 08:07:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Still, if it's not him, then who?

Frankly I don't see anyone in the current Republican field becoming US president. Guliani and McCain have a long shot, because people somehow "like" them. But Guliani actually botches up quite a lot on the campaign trail, and McCain is a bit too old by now. Still, if Fred Thompson gets the nomination, the Dems should be lucky.

You never know what happens, of course. But this is a very weak field of contenders for the Republican nomination, facing an already fairly strong field of Democrats.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 08:21:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the way it looks now, but never underestimate the Dems' ability to shoot themselves in the foot and eke out a come-from-ahead defeat for themselves.

A Dem victory might look nigh-inevitable now, but I trust they will find new and innovative ways of screwing it up.

At any rate, when Bush Senior lost to Bill Clinton in '92, it looked much the same in reverse at this stage in the pre-primary race -- only in that case it was a sitting president facing off against a passel of lightweights, and then the nominee ends up being this bubba from Arkansas who nobody had ever heard of....

Nothing is written.  Not yet.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 08:34:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Clinton got a little help from Ross Perot, too.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 09:00:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But how much help? It would be interesting to know the break-down of what Perot voters would have done had he not been in the race. If a significant amount would have stayed home and/or they would have broken about evenly for Clinton or Bush, Perot might have had very little impact on the final outcome of the election.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 09:11:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, he did.  Ahem.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 09:13:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that the next president very likely will be a Democrat (in fact, if the nominee is Obama, I think we're looking at landslide territory).
But as far as the Republican nomination goes, Thompson might well end up being the consensus candidate.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 08:38:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well as long as he dosn't task Dick Cheney to advise him who should be the next vice president.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 10:22:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The immigration reform bill is showing the deep rift between the nationalist voters and the pro-corporate politicians who are 100% in thrall to the corporate world. It was going to happen eventually, and it's a gigantic problem for the republicans. Same goes for the alliance with religious folk who are either feeling that Bush hasn't implemented the fundie agenda well enough or (on the more liberal side) that perhaps Bush isn't exactly engaging in behavior that jesus would approve of. The right wing base is a bizarre coalition that doesn't look like it can hold together much longer.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 01:23:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If WTF is the operating principle, then Rudy the Jewel will be the next president, because amurka needs a manly-man mafioso president in a dress.

Of course, this lame attempt at humor obfuscates the underlying horror of the BushCo disregard for law, as evidenced (once again) by this commutation.  And all this began when a smart mid-level diplomat attacked the justification for an illegal invasion.

Then Chainey decided to go after "The Wife" as well, since her group had f*cked him on the status of Iran's nuclear program.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 07:53:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had to overcome my bias toward John Edwards and tried to evaluate these on their merits, and I came to the same conclusion you did -- Hillary Clinton's statement is the best.  She wins points from me for neatly wrapping in the politicization of national security and the administration's efforts to punish dissent.  I do think Edwards' statement is a close second.

But there are a lot of common themes here:  "the president thinks he's above the law," and "the people have to live with the consequences," to name two.

Thanks for bringing this over here.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 05:09:32 AM EST
I really don't like Hillary (prefer that Tar Heel you mentioned), but she wrapped it up best here, I thought.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 07:34:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Richardson gets points too, for mentioning torture and secret prisons.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 07:43:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look at Richardson's, Edwards' and Clinton's statements [the others are less clear], and tell me why they are not asking for Bush and Cheney to be impeached. They are accusing him of HIgh Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 05:14:55 AM EST
On the other hand, none of the candidates except Biden went so far to suggest that the President did this to cover his or Cheney's own ass.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 05:43:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree. They're simply re-hashing Democratic talking points about the facts of the case, facts which have been ruled on and in the public domain for some time now.

If they really wanted to point up the rhetoric dial, they would have used language like "obstruction of justice" with respect to Bush himself and this commutation.

I haven't heard that yet.

In any event, none of these "leaders" have a track record of really going after Bush in any but the most rhetorical fashion, so I hope one will forgive me for not holding my breath this time.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 10:37:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Give it a couple of hours...

Hillary Clinton again (ctsy of TPM Election Central):

"I believe that presidential pardon authority is available to any president, and almost all presidents have exercised it," Clinton said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "This (the Libby decision) was clearly an effort to protect the White House. ... There isn't any doubt now, what we know is that Libby was carrying out the implicit or explicit wishes of the vice president, or maybe the president as well, in the further effort to stifle dissent."

Before that, Biden:
Today, Tony Snow said that President Bush decided to commute Scooter Libby's 30 month prison sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice because it was 'excessive.'

Yet, last year, the Bush administration filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court in an attempt to uphold a lower court's ruling that a 33 month prison sentence for Victor Rita, who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice, was 'reasonable.'

The questions we should all be asking ourselves today are: Why is the President flip-flopping? Why does Scooter Libby get special treatment?

What consequences the two Senators will draw from this obstruction of justice is still open, of course.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jul 4th, 2007 at 04:32:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Impeachment is something Kucinich pursues.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 02:02:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know which statement is the best, but if I was running for president, here's the statement I would give, in terms the Cheerleader-in-Chief can comprehend:
"Give me an I! Give me an M! Give me a P! Give me an E! Give me an A! Give me a C! Give me an H! What do you get? IMPEACH!"

Then again, there's a few constitutional hurdles preventing me from running for president of the USA. Like being under the age of 35. Or not having been born in the US. Or not currently living in the US. Or not having ever been a American citizen. But other than that, I'm good to go.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 05:19:39 AM EST
Well you've got my vote (Other than for the fact I dont have one for the same reasons as you)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 10:12:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hate to bring this up in a serious conversation, but I will note that Scooter Libby will serve less time than Paris Hilton did.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 06:35:38 AM EST
Yes, memories...
"I didn't meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with Tucker, though. He asked her real difficult questions like, 'What would you say to Governor Bush?'" "What was her answer?" I wonder. "'Please,'" Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, "'don't kill me.'"
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 07:06:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that's our Compassionate Conservative for ya.

Compassion for his cronies, and the rest of us can go take a flying leap.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 07:25:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
chanelling his favourite philosopher again....

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 04:41:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one said obstruction of justice.

I'll believe these putzes are serious when they get behind impeachment hearings, not before.

As for the poll, I vote "none of the above". They all sound like fundraising bullet points to me.

In fact, the more these Democratic "leaders" belly-ache about the big bad Bush but, in the end, bend over for him and give him Irak blood money or another shot at immigration "reform" or let him piss on the power of the Legislative branch without doing anything, the more I think that the Democratic leadership actually is actively encouraging this Nero-like behavior.

After all, each Bushie outrage is another Democratic party fund-raising bulletpoint.

And, unfortunately, nothing more.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 10:32:03 AM EST

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