None of the Republican candidates wanted to have to answer the embarassing "Will you pardon poor old loyal Scooter?" question in public: they'd either offend their loyalists or they'd offend everyone else. With Libby's sentence commuted, my guess is the question is effectively taken out of play among the Republican candidates. W. takes the hit for it, but he doesn't care, and, so far as it appears at the moment none of the candidates has left any incriminating fingerprints. On balance, I think to the extent that the commutation insulates their candidates from having to even talk about the whole Scooter pardon question, the GOP benefits, although I suspect not by very much.