In what appears to me as a chicken s**t political move yesterday, President Bush said that he is “pretty much going to stay out of” the Scooter Libby case until the final prosecutorial shots have been fired. As you might imagine, this isn’t sitting well with Libby’s supporters who think that the President shouldn’t wait for Libby to be sentenced, and should flex his presidential muscles a bit and pardon Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff before this miscarriage of justice gets to the point that Libby ends up behind bars.

Although Libby’s defense lawyers are in the process of seeking a new trial and appealing this week’s guilty verdict, they are also letting it be known that they think that the president should step in and clear this matter up once and for all. Unfortunately for Libby, this whole mess is being played out in an election cycle. The idea of Libby getting a pardon has the Democrats hot under the collar, and Republicans extremely nervous. It seems that a lot of Libby’s old buddies are more concerned with keeping their jobs, than keeping good old Scooter out of prison.

President Bush, in an interview with CNN en Español, said that he has to “respect that conviction” but that he “was sad for a man who had worked in my administration.” Although the President didn’t go as far as saying that he wouldn’t pardon Libby, he stopped far short of saying that he would. In other words, if Libby can’t string his appeal out until after the election, he can’t count on his old pal “W? to bail him out. Before this nonsense is over, Libby could very well spend 3 years in a federal prison.

Libby’s next appearance in court will be June 5, when U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton hand down sentencing. Libby could be allowed to stay out on bail pending appeals, but if Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has his way about it, Libby will begin serving his sentence immediately. This is yet another reason for the Bush administration to stop dragging their feet on this issue. Whether or not Libby will be forced to pursue his appeals from a jailhouse library solely depends on whether or not Judge Walton agrees with the prosecutions argument that he should make an example out of Libby.

The Libby prosecution is more about politics being played out via the judicial system than justice being served, and everyone knows it, especially the Democrats that have declared Libby’s misfortunate situation a victory against the administration. With a lot of the Republicans that remain in office feeling politically neutered, who can blame the libs from taking this ball and running with it as far as they can. If there were ever a moment for the linguine spined Republicans amongst the ranks to find enough courage to make a stand, this certainly would be it.