Libby ruckus exposes GOP’s failings, Sen. Clinton’s liability

President Bush’s commutation of the prison sentence that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby received for perjury — and the commutation’s immediate aftermath — have raised some interesting points.

First, after both former President Clinton and New York senator and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) criticized Bush’s commutation of Libby’s sentence, the White House responded by pointing to the former president’s last-minute pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich (actually, the pardon Clinton gave to his first HUD secretary, Henry
Cisneros, seems more analogous to the commutation that Bush gave Libby, as Cisneros was accused of lying to the FBI during its investigation of him).

Accepting the Bush White House’s premise that the Bush and Clinton actions can be equated, the implication of the White House’s response seems to be that two wrongs make a right.

Second, both leading Republicans and Democrats criticized the last-minute pardons by Clinton, a Democrat, while nary a peep has been has been heard from any leading Republican regarding the commutation of Libby’s sentence by Bush, a Republican (except that some Republicans complain that it should have been a full pardon). Given the White House’s equating the actions of the two presidents, the Republicans demonstrate once again their readiness to put partisanship before the good of the country and its concept of equal justice.

Third, the discussion of Clinton’s last-minute pardons exposes one of the many vulnerabilities the former president brings to his wife’s presidential candidacy. These vulnerabilities are why many Republicans view her as their favorite Democratic candidate — she is the candidate who will be easiest to attack and, consequently, is likely the most beatable.

~From Jonathan Strong, Washington

Death penalty foes cry wolf too often

Anti-death penalty folks have made their own mess (article, “Groups say death penalty flaws merge in Georgia case,” July 3).

Why haven’t changed testimonies, new witnesses and alleged confessions by the “real” murderer taken Troy Davis off death row for the murder of off-duty police officer Mark Allen MacPhail?

Simple. Lots of “new” evidence doesn’t matter, but the reliability of it does. A lot of really bad food doesn’t make it good.

Davis’s attorneys claim it is easier to get a hearing with DNA evidence. That’s a red herring. If Davis’s claims were credible, with or without DNA, he would have had a hearing.

With hearings for non-credible evidence, no case would ever be concluded, and constant, worthless hearings would clog the system.

Why do activists wonder why they can’t get more congressional and media attention for Davis’s claims? Many have been burned by various false claims.

Does death row inmate and executed murderer Roger Coleman ring a bell? This fraud-based innocence campaign was easily discoverable by thorough fact-checking, but even major media took a fall for not challenging this campaign’s claims enough. It’s almost routine. …

Cry wolf often enough, and it is supposed to affect credibility. With the anti-death-penalty folks, they’ve made their own bed and now they have to “lie” in it.

~From Dudley Sharp, Houston