Daily Editorial: Abuse of power | VailDaily.com

Daily Editorial: Abuse of power

Vail Daily Editorial
Vail CO, Colorado

Scooter Libby’s medal of freedom must be waiting for him on President Bush’s desk.

The award will complete the latest circle of hell in this administration’s boundless penchant for abusing power and bailing out disgraced henchmen.

Libby did not get a full pardon Monday, but the president’s wiping out of his 2-and-a-half-year jail sentence serves the lying former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney just as well.

He avoids hard time for obstructing an investigation into the duplicitous origins of our disastrous war in Iraq and is left with a fine and a conviction on his record. We think he’ll be just fine ” he took one for the team, and will be taken care of by some administration-connected lobbying or law firm.

And the administration has dodged, in this case, any scrutiny into how it used phony nukes and false al-Qaida ties to trick a lot of well-meaning Americans into supporting the invasion of Iraq.

Presidents have the awesome power to cancel prison sentences and pardon crimes, but, as in W.’s latest exercise of it, it is too often abused to get misbehaving cronies out of trouble. Bill Clinton also was guilty of embarrassing his office when he let fugitive billionaire Marc Rich off the hook.

Pardons and the commutation of sentences ” which cannot be challenged by Congress or the courts ” should not serve as free passes for the presidents’ buddies to break the law. They should be granted only when they are good for the country.

Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter prevented vast turmoil when, respectively, they pardoned Richard Nixon for his role in Watergate and Vietnam draft dodgers for refusing to be sent to war.

Perhaps it’s time for the American people to commute the president’s final term in the White House. And should any of the ongoing investigations ” such as the probe into the firings of U.S. attorneys ” catch the president in a crime, he may not be so lucky as to get pardoned by a crony. He probably wont have any friends in the White House when, due to voters’ disgust with his rampant abuse of power, a Democrat takes over in ’09.

” Matt Zalaznick for the Editorial Board

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