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Monday, January 19, 2009

Pardon watch: What about "the blanket"? 


The Politico rounds up the prospects and gives the odds for midnight pardons from George W. Bush, including a "blanket pardon" for military and CIA interrogators (4 to 1) and the more senior policymakers. That would, of course, drive the lefties insane, chomping at the bit as they are for prosecutions up and down the line for "war crimes" and "aggressive anti-terrorism initiatives." From Bush's perspective it is a tough call, because both the pardon and prosecutions in the absence of a pardon would establish a terrible precedent. The best result would be no pardon, and no prosecutions. We do not want to validate violations of the law (setting aside whether there were violations of the law), but we also do not want to turn on people who were acting in good faith defense of this country under extraordinary circumstances that were not contemplated when most of the implicated laws and treaties were enacted or ratified.

Finally, one thing, at least, is clear: Barack Obama would be the primary political beneficiary of a blanket pardon. He would be freed from the rancorous partisan bickering and distraction that would undoubtedly flow from the prosecutions demanded by the left, but he would bear no responsibility for the decision not to proceed. Bush would have tied his hands. From that perspective, a blanket pardon would be George W. Bush's last generous act in what has probably been the most gracious presidential transition in modern times.


13 Comments:

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jan 19, 09:02:00 AM:

Part of me wants to see no pardons issued, thinking "Bring on the fight."

But then I wonder, is this argument our Rubicon? Would there really be people so incredibly stupid to pick again a modern day version of the same fight that drove Ceasar into rebellion? Should we even take that chance?  

By Anonymous feeblemind, at Mon Jan 19, 09:06:00 AM:

While I have no problems with Bush issuing pardons in the abstract, as a feebleminded old geezer, I have long wondered how any president can issue a pardon to someone who has not been convicted of a crime? Doesn't that imply the person was actually guilty? Why pardon an innocent person that hasn't even been accused? I understand the political logic for these pardons, but I don't understand the legal logic at all.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jan 19, 09:09:00 AM:

If there are to be pardons issued, I'm betting Obama will do the issuing: "Reconciliation", and all that being the order of the day. "Bipartisanship", and "Look forward, not back."

It would be an audaciously brilliant first move. It would certainly present huge "how do we package this move?" sorts of issues for the soon to be unemployed NYT editorial staff too.  

By Blogger SMGalbraith, at Mon Jan 19, 10:25:00 AM:

how any president can issue a pardon to someone who has not been convicted of a crime

Well, we have the Nixon analogy.

And the pardons/commutations by Lincoln and Johnson (link) after the civil war to the Southerners.

And Carter's amnesty to the draft dodgers/resisters.

There is precedent.  

By Blogger Tom, at Mon Jan 19, 10:49:00 AM:

Wow, I came over here from a alicublog link, it's been years since I've read this site and it's as bad as ever. Mind pointing me to your "Dude, where's my recession" posts?  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Mon Jan 19, 11:05:00 AM:

Mind pointing me to your "Dude, where's my recession" posts?

It snuck up on us.  

By Blogger SMGalbraith, at Mon Jan 19, 11:17:00 AM:

it's been years since I've read this site and it's as bad as ever

Welcome back. Boy, we've missed your mature and fair-minded posts too.

Frankly, I've forgotten how 13-year olds view and write about the world. Thanks for reminding me.  

By Anonymous in_awe, at Mon Jan 19, 12:08:00 PM:

how any president can issue a pardon to someone who has not been convicted of a crime

Marc Rich ring any bells? Then again there were millions of dollars in contributions to Billy Jeff's library and foundation involved...  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Mon Jan 19, 12:12:00 PM:

The best comparable example in my memory is Jimmy Carter's blanket pardon of the draft dodgers, a move that cemented the image of the Democrats as anti-military softies for a generation.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jan 19, 04:59:00 PM:

A blanket pardon is a bad idea.

Let the Democrats bring this on, if they want.

Let there be trials and testimony, and let the accused speak openly of classified information.

If this is not fought out in the open, it will fester for years in the minds of everyone, right, wrong or indifferent.

To save the Republic (literally) we have to fight this out in public. Otherwise, we truly will have crossed the Rubicon into some dark, populist nightmare, that will have no end in our lifetimes.

-David  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Mon Jan 19, 05:23:00 PM:

George Bush will do what he thinks is best for the country. There's a novel idea, and so counterintuitive in DC that people have to inject other considerations they understand better.

Tom. Mild recession. Some sectors hit badly, others not at all. There may be worse to come, but that remains uncertain. We have essentially been at a flat line for a year. Remember that with yearly 2% growth for decades, the bottom of this recession is not very different from the flush times of a decade ago.  

By Blogger Mrs. Davis, at Mon Jan 19, 06:20:00 PM:

True in the aggregate, but not if you're the guy who just got laid off. And the collapse of the asset bubbles and credit markets makes this different and likely much more than a mild recession. Time will tell  

By Anonymous in_awe, at Mon Jan 19, 09:16:00 PM:

If this is not fought out in the open, it will fester for years in the minds of everyone, right, wrong or indifferent.

To save the Republic (literally) we have to fight this out in public. Otherwise, we truly will have crossed the Rubicon into some dark, populist nightmare, that will have no end in our lifetimes.


Along the lines of the Dems still moaning about the 2000 election results - even after the NYT, LAT, etc, conceded that only in an outlandishly far-fetched circumstance would Gore have won?

Some memes are just too intoxicating for the liberals to ever let go of no matter what proof you use to eviscerate it - this will be another.  

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