Via NewsHounds, Brit Hume interviews Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of The Weekly Standard about the Libby commutation:
George Bush may have alienated a lot of core conservatives and thereby consigned the Republican party to political oblivion for the next forty years.
BRIT HUME: "The full pardon option is - would seem to be open but that would become then a contradiction of what he said about the jury verdict, wouldn't it?"<
FRED BARNES: "Not necessarily. I mean, you can pardon for different reasons. One, you can pardon for mercy. You can pardon because you think it's a miscarriage of justice or you can pardon for political reasons. Other Presidents have done this. You know - um, uh - George Washington - pardoned the perpetrators of the Whiskey Rebellion. Thomas Jefferson, you know, [pardoned] those convicted under the Alien and Sedition Acts. This goes way back to the founders. Remember Bush - Bush's father pardoned Caspar Weinberger when he'd been indicted for some connection - I forget what it was - with the Iran-Contra And that was a political - that was the use of the pardon - or in this case the commuting power for political reasons. I think that's what he's done here."
HUME: "So this is political, in other words?"
BARNES: "Yeah it's political. And this is..."
HUME: "This isn't because the sentence was too harsh? This is for politics?"
BARNES: "Well he does think the sentence is too harsh, but, uh, uh, there are lots of sentences that are too harsh. I think he did this because he didn't - uh, for those reasons, but it's a different kind of pardon. You know there's an ordinary pardon and you would have sent that through the Justice Department and they have an office there that tells you whether it meets certain standards or not. He didn't do that. You don't do that with these - uh - these sort of political - uh - pardons and, look, this goes back to the founders."