July 10, 2006
Pardon Hillary Now?
I'm thinking more unthinkable thoughts.
One can ask for no clearer indication that the Clinton administration had a fire sale on presidential pardons, and made sure that the money stayed in the family.The Pardongate scandal is an oldie but a goodie. It never got the play it should have, because the pardon fire sale happened at the last possible minute -- during the lamest lame duck days of the nearly extinct Clinton administration.
Not only had George W. Bush just been elected, the unsuspecting country was in the last stages of its naive, pre-9/11 days.
And now that I think about it, the country was still in its pre-blogosphere days! That means there were no hordes of bloggers to scrutinize the pardons. There were a lot of them, and as pure corruption goes, this was the worst scandal of the Clinton administration, and possibly any administration. Here's Salon's editor in 2001:
it's not just Rich and Green. There's Carlos Vignali, the cocaine trafficker whose father was a big Democratic contributor (and one of the two men whose lawyers paid Hugh Rodham $200,000 for his services). Thanks to his well-connected dad, Vignali relied on a network of folks close to the Clintons. "How'd you get out?" Vignali's lawyer asked him, shocked at his client's release halfway through his 15-year sentence. "Word around prison was that it was the right time to approach the president," Vignali replied, according to the L.A. Times.That's just an excerpt, but come on. Selling pardons, for cash, to convicts?
The Justice Department (per Mary Jo White) had a case going, and there was a lot of talk about Bush doing the right thing and pardoning the Clintons, but Bush (and his advisers, doubtless weighing his slim margin of victory and the Democrats' threat to go ballistic had Bush dared pardon the Clintons) obviously wanted to put the acrimony behind, and "move on."
But a huge unresolved scandal can't be expected to stay disappeared when a principal player decides to run for president. It's one thing to move on and forget the past, but quite another to return to power a co-partner in an administration which left such a grand mess as its last nose-thumbing gesture.
At the time, I thought Bush should have just pardoned the Clintons, and I'm sure there were many reasons why he didn't. Bush's style was to sweep the whole thing under the carpet (a literal coverup?) and let bygones be bygones. That would have been fine had bygones become bygones. The problem is that if Hillary makes a serious run for the presidency, the Pardongate scandal will not be a bygone. The stuff Captain Ed is talking about is barely the tip of the iceberg.
Still, I'm wondering. Is it too late to pardon the Clintons? Couldn't Bush just pardon Hillary? (Honestly, I don't see how it could hurt his ratings. And legally speaking, no indictment is necessary.)
Might it be time to put the whole mess behind us?
UPDATE: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking this post, and welcome all!
I notice that commenter Daveg below mentioned the White House dishes. Frankly, I had forgotten about that. China was the last thing on my mind, but yes, let's bygone that doggone bygone too!
posted by Eric on 07.10.06 at 10:15 AM
Search the Site
Classics To Go
See more archives here
Old (Blogspot) archives
A knee sock jihad might be premature at this time
People Are Not Rational
No Biorobots For Japan
The Thorium Solution
Radiation Detector From A Digital Camera
This war of attrition is driving me bananas!
Attacking Christianity is one thing, but must they butcher geometry?
Are there trashy distinctions in freedom of expression?
Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood