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Who, Me?

Bush evades his responsibility with respect to Libby.

3:55 PM, Jun 5, 2007 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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"The President said that he felt terrible for the family, especially his wife and his kids."

--Deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino, accompanying President Bush on Air Force One, Tuesday

I FEEL TERRIBLE for Scooter Libby's family. Millions of Americans feel terrible for Scooter Libby's family. But we can't do anything about the injustice that has been done. Nor can we do anything to avert a further injustice looming on the horizon--Judge Reggie Walton seems inclined not to let Libby remain free pending appeal.

Unlike the rest of us, however, George W. Bush is president. Article II, Section Two of the Constitution gives him the pardon power. George W. Bush can do something to begin to make up for the injustice a prosecutor appointed by his own administration brought down on Scooter Libby. And he can do something to avert the further injustice of a prison term.

Will Bush pardon Libby? Apparently not--even if it means a man who worked closely with him and sought tirelessly to do what was right for the country goes to prison. Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino, noting that the appeals process was underway, said, "Given that and in keeping with what we have said in the past, the president has not intervened so far in any other criminal matter and he is going to decline to do so now."

So much for loyalty, or decency, or courage. For President Bush, loyalty is apparently a one-way street; decency is something he's for as long as he doesn't have to take any risks in its behalf; and courage--well, that's nowhere to be seen. Many of us used to respect President Bush. Can one respect him still?

William Kristol is editor of The Weekly Standard.