Monday, July 02, 2007

Torches and Pitchforks

They don't even try to hide the hypocrisy any more.

In a scramble to try to come up with some leg to stand on in the 2008 elections, the administration decided to trot out that old warhorse, Law and Order. If they can't take names and kick ass abroad, well then they could at least try to look tough at home. From the June 17th Boston Globe:

'...WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is trying to roll back a Supreme Court decision by pushing legislation that would require prison time for nearly all criminals.

The Justice Department is offering the plan as an opening salvo in a larger debate about whether sentences for crack cocaine are unfairly harsh and racially discriminatory.

Republicans are seizing the administration's crackdown, packaged in legislation to combat violent crime, as a campaign issue for 2008.

In a speech June 1 to announce the bill, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urged Congress to reimpose mandatory minimum prison sentences against federal convicts -- and not let judges consider such penalties "merely a suggestion."

Such an overhaul, in part, "will strengthen our hand in fighting criminals who threaten the safety and security of all Americans," Gonzales said in the speech, delivered three days before the FBI announced a slight national uptick in violent crime during 2006...

...Justice officials also point to a growing number of lighter sentences as possible proof that crime is rising because criminals are no longer cowed by strict penalties...'

Let's see how that new campaign theme's working out:

'...WASHINGTON, July 2 — President Bush said today that he had used his power of clemency to commute the 30-month sentence for I. Lewis Libby Jr., the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, who was convicted of perjury in March and was due to begin serving his time within weeks...

...“I respect the jury’s verdict,” Mr. Bush said. “But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend 30 months in prison.”...

...The president noted in his statement that the decision to commute “leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby.[a 250,000 fine]”...

The president’s decision drew praise from Mr. Libby’s defenders. “That’s fantastic. It’s a great relief," said former Ambassador Richard Carlson, who helped raise millions for Libby’s defense fund. "Scooter Libby did not deserve to go to prison and I’m glad the president had the courage to do this."...'

I love the 'harsh punishment' of a cool quarter mil for a guy who's already ranked in dozens of times that amount for his legal defense fund. The media is already talking about this as some kind of compromise, like the President has the wisdom of friggin' Solomon or something: cut the sentence in half...

Americans put up with just about anything in politics, but they actually do start drawing the line at rank hypocrisy. The problem is that no one in the media points any of it out, at least with this administration. It's going to get a lot worse, too. Nobody in Washington is fearing crowds showing up at the White House bearing torches and pitchforks.