On NBC’s Today Show this morning, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol defended President Bush’s decision yesterday to spare former Cheney aide “Scooter” Libby from a 2½-year prison term, saying “this was a courageous decision” because Bush had to deal with “all the screaming and yelling” from Americans opposed to the commutation. “Look at Joe Wilson’s ridiculous comments just now,” added Kristol. “Look at Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the New York Times, the Washington Post…”
Host Meredith Viera cut off Kristol and interjected, “There are many people who feel that this is a travesty of justice. So those who believe that are ridiculous?” “Yeah…I do think it is ridiculous,” responded Kristol. Watch it:
Kristol believes a great majority of Americans are “ridiculous.” According to a poll taken last night by SurveyUSA, 60% of Americans say Bush should have left the judge’s prison sentence in place. Only 32% of Republicans and 20% of Independents said they agree with the president’s decision.
Additionally, Kristol’s defense of the commutation does not hold up to scrutiny. Kristol argued Libby should not serve time in jail “for having a different recollection about a conversation with Tim Russert, which is the only thing he was indicted or convicted on.” Libby was found guilty of obstruction of justice, which special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said is like when “the umpire gets sand thrown in his eyes,” preventing the discovery of why Valerie Plame’s covert identity was leaked.
It wasn’t only “a conversation with Tim Russert” either, as prosecution lawyer Peter Zeidenberg noted in his closing statement. In fact, Libby claimed to have forgotten “nine conversations with eight people over a four-week period,” which the jury simply did not find credible.