Speculation from Josh Marshall:
The key is that Libby has decided to base his defense in large part on an attack on the White House -- specifically on Karl Rove, almost certainly on other top advisors and conceiveably even on the president himself. The logical inference from that decision is that Libby and his lawyers have decided that President Bush will not pardon their client.I have been thinking the same thing.
Why the White House would have decided that or why they would have chosen to make that decision clear to Libby is a bit hard to fathom. But it's hard to figure why Libby would have gone so hard against Rove if he thought a pardon were still in the offing? Thoughts?
In a narrow political sense, Rove's guilt wouldn't exculpate Libby. And taking the rap for other guilty parties wouldn't absolve him either. Perhaps they're angling for some sort of politically-tinged jury nullification.
There was talk last year of an irreconcilable split between Bush and Cheney, even rumours that they were barely speaking to one another. This was around the time that Bush petulantly whined: "I'm the decider!"
I thought I noticed a shift in his talking style at that point: he tried to cut through some of the usual B.S. but just ended up making more gaffes and sounding even more stupid. Look at the Harriet Myers nomination. Seemed to me by then he had dropped his minders and was basically going solo.
Then came the November mid-term elections, for which Bush blamed Rove ("I was obviously working harder than he was"). Bush doesn't need to face another election, so maybe he thinks he finally doesn't have any more use for Rove.
Reminds me of a scene from The Jerk:
I don't need Rove! I don't need Cheney either. Or Rummy, or Libby, or anyone!!!
Except Condi, of course.
And this chair...