WHEN IN DOUBT, BLAME BILL….Unable to defend the president’s conduct in the Libby scandal, Tony Snow has embraced the well-established Clinton Misdirection Policy with both arms.

The White House on Thursday made fun of former President Clinton and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, for criticizing President Bush’s decision to erase the prison sentence of former aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

“I don’t know what Arkansan is for chutzpah, but this is a gigantic case of it,” presidential spokesman Tony Snow said. […]

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., has scheduled hearings Wednesday on Bush’s commutation of Libby’s 2 1/2-year sentence. “Well, fine, knock himself out,” Snow said of Conyers. “I mean, perfectly happy. And while he’s at it, why doesn’t he look at January 20th, 2001?”

Snow then proceeded to say, “I know you are but what am I,” made some oblique reference to being rubber to reporters’ glue, held his breath for an inordinate amount of time, and then, fingers in ears, shouted, “La la la, I can’t hear you.”

The amazing thing about Snow’s farcical and humiliating performance today is that it concedes defeat. He wasn’t explicit about it, but with repeated references to Clinton’s presidency, Snow effectively admitted that the Bush White House did something spectacularly inappropriate, but justified this conduct by insisting that Clinton was just as bad. So much for “restoring honor and dignity to the Oval Office.”

Asked specifically, “Do two wrongs make a right?” Snow hedged for a moment and then dodged the question. Classy

But even if we play by Snow’s rules, Libby’s prison sentence was commuted by a president motivated by self-interest — Libby was charged in a case in which he could implicate the president and vice president. As Dan Froomkin put it the other day, “All of this means that Bush’s decision … isn’t just a matter of unequal justice. It is also a potentially self-serving and corrupt act.”

No matter how suspect the Marc Rich pardon appears, unless Snow is prepared to argue that Rich was in a position to implicate Clinton in a larger crime, the comparison doesn’t hold up well.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.