The upside to George W. Bush's below-freezing approval ratings? His poll numbers are now so low that maybe pardoning Scooter Libby wouldn't actually hurt him. As Peter Baker writes in the Washington Post this morning, "some White House advisers" are saying that "the president's political troubles are already so deep that a pardon might not be so damaging."
Indeed, there's an argument to be made that Bush can gain political points by pardoning the vice president's former chief of staff. As Baker notes, the people who would be most upset by a pardon are probably ones who've written off Bush already. The folks who'd be most upset by the lack of a pardon, on the other hand, are either still in Bush's camp or susceptible to an invitation to return.
Among them: William Kristol, who suggests that a Libby pardon might be reason to "respect" Bush again, and the editors of the National Review, who argue that Libby is "a dedicated public servant caught in a crazy political fight that should have never happened, convicted of lying about a crime that the prosecutor can't even prove was committed."