So argues William Otis in the Washington Post: “Scooter Libby should not be pardoned. But his punishment—30 months in prison, two years’ probation and a $250,000 fine—is excessive. President Bush should commute the sentence by eliminating the jail term while preserving the fine.”
Five more paragraphs follow in the same vein: “Neither vindication of the rule of law nor any other aspect of the public interest requires that Libby go to prison. He is by no stretch a danger to the community, as ‘danger’ is commonly understood. He did not commit his crime out of greed or personal malice. Nor is his life one that bespeaks a criminal turn of mind. … A sense of proportionality argues in favor of eliminating Libby’s prison term. … [T]o leave the sentence undisturbed would be an injustice to a person who, though guilty in this instance, is not what most people would, or should, think of as a criminal.”
Et cetera. By the end of the piece, I was embarrassed for whomever penned it, in the way one might cringe at a suitor persistently and publicly making ill-suited plays for someone whose disinterest is palpable. Beyond that, it struck me as patently absurd that this rubbish would be worthy of publication in the Washington Post. Just who was this William Otis character, anyway?
The writer, a former federal prosecutor, was a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on the Sentencing Guidelines under administrations of both parties. He was special counsel for President George H.W. Bush.
Och aye. We are in such trouble. I believe I hear Nero tuning his fiddle now…
[Related Reading: Digby.]