Scooter Libby: An illustration of fractured politics

Published 12:07 am Sunday, July 15, 2007

Reaction to President Bush’s decision to overturn Scooter Libby’s prison term offers a clear example of the polarization of American politics.

On the one hand, there was Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson.

“I know that this is a great relief to him, his wife and children,” Thompson said of Libby. “While for a long time I have urged a pardon for Scooter, I respect the president’s decision. This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life.”

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On the other, there was Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“Today’s decision is yet another example that this administration simply considers itself above the law,” she said.

House Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri sided with Thompson.

“President Bush did the right thing today in commuting the prison term for Scooter Libby,” he said.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, echoed Clinton.

“Even Paris Hilton had to go to jail,” he said. “No one in this administration should be above the law.”

A decade ago, the roles were reversed.

Republicans in Congress were pushing to have Clinton’s husband, Bill, removed from office for lying under oath. On Monday, some of those same Republicans were applauding their president for commuting the sentence of Libby, who was convicted of the same thing in a criminal investigation.

Democrats 10 years ago were screaming politics at the Clinton impeachment. On Monday, many of the same people were screaming at the injustice of Bush’s decision.

They didn’t want to see a Democratic president taken down for lying, but they had no problem with seeing a high ranking Republican taken down for the same crime.

In Washington, and across the country, it’s all about whose side you’re on.

And then we wonder why it’s so difficult for the folks in Washington to get anything done.