That's what the Decider said. Then he said, "But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison."
Let's rephrase that. What the President said, in essence, is "While I know that the Jury found the defendant guilty, I don't think he should go to prison, because he's my VP's former aide. But, since I'm going to get too much backlash if I pardon him, I'm just going to see to it that he doesn't go to jail. In other words, he's not going to be fully punished for breaking the law."
So, it's easy to see that he respects the jury's decision, so much so that he's going to reverse part their decision. Now, he's not getting off scot-free. He does still have probation, and a $250,000 fine. And let's not forget the damage to his reputation, and professional work in the legal community (why not keep him off the bar altogether?) But, the meat of the punishment is the prison sentence, and to suggest otherwise is nothing short of blowing smoke. What this act by the President does, in essence, is show that he feels his administration is not subject to the checks and balances provided for by the Constitution, and that the People have no say in how his office is governed. "I respect their decision. I considered their decision. They are wrong. Only I know the right punishment." The Decider, indeed. By the people, for the people be damned, this is his show, and he wants to make sure EVERYONE knows it. I for one am disgusted at this. Shame on President Bush.
CROSS POST: Check out Just Wondering's post on Vim and Vinegar - she has another view on this, and is equally unhappy with the result.