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Who can tell what motivates the President these days? Maybe the commutation of Scooter Libby is meant to demonstrate his latent in-chargity. That he's relevant dammit! That not only can he be the decider, he also has the skills to be the commuter as well. With an approval rating lower than a drunk IRS agent wearing pinstripes behind the Red Sox dugout at Fenway, he probably wouldn't mind commuting himself, to and from the comfort of Crawford, Texas, four or seven days a week. Could become the First Telecommuting Chief Executive. "I'm looking forward to Friday, that's 'No Pants Day.'" Bet Laura and the twins would prefer that. Dick too, just to clear the decks for some of the trickier bits.
Proving his pertinence required George Bush to set a convicted partisan felon free as the proverbial bird. Though the identity of what kind of bird that phrase is intended to signify has been shrouded by the mists of time; it is safe to say, it sure ain't no jail bird, because due to Dubyah's opportune intervention, Cheney's former chief of staff served less time than a spit-balling junior-high study-hall miscreant sent to honors detention in the cafeteria.
Q. What's the difference between Paris Hilton and Scooter Libby?
A. 23 days.
The man whose defense was "I'm a busy man and can't be expected to keep track of all the lies I tell," didn't sing like a canary either; as Paulie Walnuts might say, "You did good time kid." So rest assured he has a bright future ahead of him on the Forbes Magazine "Tired Old Leadership Axioms in Return for the Big Bucks" speaking tour, jointly sponsored by the Homeland Security and the TV Guide Channel, now contemplating a midseason replacement called "Skooter Skates."
If Bush had explained that he wiped away the VP's right hand man's sentence of 30 months for perjury in federal court, because you can't send a man named Scooter to prison, I would have understood. But the excuse used was the sentence was "excessive." And we Americans who are just 19 months shy of serving our full 96 month sentence living under the fear mongering, torture outsourcing and middle class eradication efforts of this administration, can totally relate.
"Excessive." That's what he called it. This is the same guy who when running for governor of Texas actually said out loud in front of people with microphones sticking out of their hands that he wanted to "stiffen the death penalty." Stiffen the death penalty? The hell does that mean? Was he going to apply it twice? Were doctors mandated not to rub alcohol on the point of insertion before lethal injections? Did he empanel a blue ribbon committee to figure out a way of how to dump the electric chair and wire up some bleachers?
But when it came to punishing his string puller's best friend, the President's compassion predictably welled up like a zit the morning of picture day in 8th grade. He did keep intact the other part of Mr. Libby's sentence; the $250,000 fine, but that didn't seem to pose much of a hardship, as the skedaddling scofflaw simply wrote a personal check for it. Don't feel too bad for him. I'm sure he'll be reimbursed by the Scooter Libby Defense Fund or as we are used to calling it: Halliburton.
Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability.