My goodness - the blogosphere is abuzz with the Scooter Libby commutation. (Would this guy be news if his nickname was "Stinky"?)
Like his veto pen, the power to commute and pardon has long lay unused in the White House. Too bad. I agree with David Boaz at the Cato Institute that more deserving pardons could have been issued.
President Bush has pushed the envelope of every aspect of executive power, except for two that might ease the burden of government, the veto and the pardon. Now he’s threatening to protect the taxpayers with his veto pen, and he’s just discovered his power to pardon or commute the sentences of people convicted of crimes. Whether Scooter Libby was an appropriate recipient of a commutation is subject to much debate. [More]Given that 60% of individuals polled disagreed with the action, the President seems to be even more disconnected from the people he leads - depending on an internal compass to guide his decisions as even conservatives distance themselves from him.
This has strong implications for agriculture and the farm bill, I think. The loyalty he rewarded in the Libby case could be similar to the loyalty shown by Sec. of Ag Johanns, a true foot soldier who has tireless repeated the administration demands for a new form of farm policy.
This White House has nothing to lose and a legacy to gain. It looks to me like the President may side with fiscal conservatives and veto any bill that ignores reform.