Friday, January 23, 2009

Keeping the Powder Dry on the Public’s Tolerance for Pardons

It’s interesting that Bush 43 seemed to be quite reluctant to issue a flood of pardons on his last few days in office, despite eight years of practically shoveling money to his friends and cronies. Dick Cheney even criticized Bush for a “miscarriage of justice” in not pardoning Scooter Libby.

The most obvious explanations for the lack of pardons are either he was too lazy to actually work on his last few days on the job; or as this post suggests, that he simply lacked empathy or the capacity to feel loyalty toward even those like Libby who sacrificed their own credibility (and careers) to protect him.

Personally, I think the reason may be that he heard the public call to hold him accountable for his own crimes, and President Obama’s seeming inclination to look beyond Bush’s actions toward “focusing on the future,” and he decided that if the public were to become oversaturated with his own outgoing pardons, they may be less likely to accept a call to “let bygones be bygones” when it comes to Bush himself.

Perhaps it’s a fitting miscalculation for a man who graced us with an eight year string of miscalculations!

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