Over at the New Republic, Christopher Orr fires first:
There is even a case to be made that, far from being the pardon-minus it's been billed as, commutation serves as a pardon-plus for Libby. He can (and will) continue with his appeals, which if they succeed, will restore him to innocence more persuasively than any presidential pardon. And, of course, if they fail, Bush can always pardon him down the road. There's even some speculation that the commutation increases Libby's legal leverage: While the appeals proceed, Libby can invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination should, say, Congress wish to have a discussion with him; had he been pardoned, he would have considerably less latitude.
All in all, a good day for Scooter Libby, and a bad day for believers in equal justice before the law.
Of course, I disagree with the last statement. But it is moves like these that make me long for the days, all the way back to the 1994 Governors' race, when W pulled a rabbit out of his hat after being underestimated by his enemies.
Oh: a love the part where Orr reports that, with $5 million in his defense fund, Libby (in Orr's estimation) may actually end up turning a profit "for his crime." Orr returns soon after with an "Update," (after, he grudgingly reveals, being verbally slapped around by publisher Martin Peretz), to basically admit to total ignorance regarding the fees of high-priced Washington criminal lawyers.
Originally via Ramesh Ponnuru at The Corner.