Peter Wallsten is the Los Angeles Times reporter whom I saluted last year in “A class act.” Today Peter writes about how the fate of Lewis Libby “has thrown a twist into the race for the Republican presidential nomination, forcing candidates to make an awkward choice between loyalty to a party stalwart and the GOP’s long-held reverence for the rule of law.” Peter’s article is “Libby pardon poses quandary for GOP hopefuls” and covers not only positions expressed by the Republican presidential candidates Tuesday evening, but also the editorials by National Review and Bill Kristol that we noted yesterday.
Peter frames his article on a false dichotomy between a pardon and the rule of law. Yet pardons do not disturb the rule of law; they are part of the rule of law. Moreover, a pardon would not exonerate Libby; only reversal of the conviction would do that. In today’s New York Times story on the same subject, David Frum captures the absurdity of the Libby prosecution:
Already, major conservative and neoconservative organizations, magazines and Web sites are expressing vexation that Mr. Bush has not granted clemency to Mr. Libby, who they say was unfairly railroaded for an initial leak that has now been traced to Richard L. Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state.