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Next, A Libby Pardon

President George Bush can go no lower in the polls, so expect him to compound his disregard for justice with a full pardon of I. Lewis Libby.

Commuting the sentence of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff kept him out of prison, but that will not satisfy Libby's defenders. They want and will get all four felony convictions erased and his right to practice law protected. Wait and see. Libby was not the victim of a partisan plot. He lied to a grand jury and made false statements to the FBI in the course of an investigation into the outing of a CIA agent.

She was being punished because her husband blew the whistle on part of the White House story invented to sell the U.S. invasion of Iraq to the American public. The attacks have not let up. Conservatives, squirming with guilty pleasure over their win for Libby, are starting an "a little bit nutty, a little bit slutty" smear campaign on the former diplomat.

Libby is off the hook. If the prospect of 30 months in jail ever had him thinking about telling the truth, there is no need. The cover-up can continue. Despite the work of a special prosecutor and a federal judge, the administration remains above substantive challenge or official rebuke.

Credit the vice president with setting the insulting tone early. He consistently waved off anyone trying to hold his office accountable to congressional checks and balances or any outside scrutiny.

Cheney balked at rules on classified data, and then tried to abolish the independent agency charged with enforcing the rules. Indeed, rules appear to be as flexible as a garden hose in the current White House.

The prison at Guantánamo Bay is the signature piece of evidence that foreshadowed the president's attitude toward the equal application of justice. Prisoners sent to the offshore site have languished five years without knowledge of their alleged crimes.

Finally, the Supreme Court agreed last week to review the administration's claim it could infinitely hold prisoners without ever saying why.

Early on in the leak case, Bush said, "I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated the law, the person will be taken care of." He kept his word.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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