If you think the presidential campaign started early, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has already started campaigning for governor in 2010. He hopes democrats will reward him in three years for chastising President Bush for commuting Scooter's sentence for lying to federal investigators and a grand jury.
In a Detroit Free Press op-ed, Bush wrong to commute Libby's sentence, Mike Cox wrote that Bush has damaged the criminal justice system by letting a convicted lier escape jail time.
Cox knows as well as anyone that justice was served. No crime was committed regarding the release of Plame's identity (justice served: innocent) and Scooter was found guilty of lying to investigators and the grand jury (justice served: guilty).
The only thing that wasn't served was jail time, which is the president's constitutionally-guaranteed prerogative. It is not unlike the freedom prosecutors enjoy to prosecute whichever crimes they wish and make the deals they feel they must to get the convictions they want. It's called prosecutorial prerogative.
Surely, anyone that watches NBC's Law & Order or has spent the night at a Holiday Inn Express knows that.
In this instance, Cox's hypocrisy may go mostly unnoticed. Some Republicans will complain he's Bush-bashing for political gain, but will likely vote for him anyway. Some Democrats (there are more of those in Michigan than there are Republicans) will believe he's being honest and exercising his independence from Michigan's Republican machinery, and may even consider voting for him.
And who could blame Cox for distancing himself from the state Republican leadership? After recruiting billionaire Dick DeVos that machinery suffocated all other Republican candidates until they promised not to run or dropped out of the race. They then squandered the opportunity to beat a beauty queen presiding over one of our state's worst economies.
Cox isn't an idiot. He's a bright man, and I suspect his op-ed was more about politics than the risks of perjury. But some who can't detect his duplicity might be more disposed to vote for him as Michigan's governor with this superficial op-ed on-record than if it weren't.
I guess we'll have to wait three years to find out.