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First Act
2008-11-09 17:41
by Will Carroll

A lot of people in a lot of places are telling Barack Obama what his first act as President should be. Obama shouldn't listen to any of them, but I'll toss mine into the ring.

On January 21st, President Obama steps to the lectern at his first press conference as President and begins:

"I would like to announce that I am pardoning President George Bush for any and all crimes that he committed while serving as President of the United States. I am doing the same for Vice President Richard Cheney. We are closing a chapter and moving forward. We do not have time to look back, but merely to say 'never again.' We will now get on with the business at hand."

2008-11-09 17:51:56
1.   Linkmeister
You're assuming Bush won't pardon himself, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the unholy crew as he goes out the door.

Don't forget that Ford's pardon of Nixon probably cost him re-election.

2008-11-09 17:55:56
2.   D4P
Responsibility for investigating and/or prosecuting of previous presidents shouldn't rest with the current president.
2008-11-09 18:38:00
3.   dianagramr
war crimes get pardoned????
2008-11-09 18:43:55
4.   Will Carroll
Diane -- I think war crimes are under the auspices of the UN or World Court. Honestly, I think the cloud it would put over Bush/Cheney would be better than any conviction.
2008-11-09 21:17:54
5.   Linkmeister
From the International Criminal Court's charter:

"It will act only when the national jurisdiction is unable or unwilling to genuinely prosecute, or in the case of referral by the Security Council."

What that usually means in practice is that if the country whose leaders could be charged has a functioning and honest judiciary it's unlikely the ICC would take up the case.

I'd be embarrassed to see former officials of my country in the dock in The Hague, but I do think there's a case against them. Won't happen, though.

2008-11-09 23:31:20
6.   tsengsational
The UN doesn't have the moral authority to charge any US leader with a war crime. Oh, it also doesn't have the authority.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the US not a part of the ICC?

2008-11-09 23:33:23
7.   Xeifrank
First of all you have to be convicted of something to be pardoned, so your advice for Obama doesn't make much sense. Oh wait, nothing on this blog makes sense.
2008-11-10 01:35:23
8.   Eric Enders
And yet you continue reading it.
2008-11-10 01:43:07
9.   Eric Enders
7 In point of fact, by the way, you are absolutely dead wrong. In fact, the two most well-known presidential pardons were of people who hadn't yet been convicted of any crime: Richard Nixon, who was given a blanket pardon for any crimes he may have committed while in office; and the Vietnam draft dodgers pardoned by Carter, most of whom had not actually been convicted in a court of law.

Clearly you disagree vehemently with Will's opinions, his blog, and for all I know, his existence on earth, but accusing him of not making sense is a little silly since your own post is the one that best fits that description.

2008-11-10 05:11:39
10.   jgpyke
WC's proposal is silly b/c it goes against the whole hope change, changeity hopeity thing. It's a sophomoric prank, which Obama should be above. (Just as I expect GWB's staff to be above prying the "O" keys off the WH keyboards on the way out, ala Clintonistas with the "W" keys in 2000.)

If Obama wants us to think of him as real, now is the time. Snark and sarcasm are not the hope and change we can believe in.

2008-11-10 07:20:56
11.   D4P
Huh: that post wasn't "very respectful"...
2008-11-10 08:39:54
12.   ToyCannon
I'm with you, while it would give us a good laugh it certainly wouldn't score any points in asking everyone to pull together. Obama probably tried his last joke with the Nancy Reagan seance comment. We don't want a comedian right now with a continual smirk on his face, we want a serious president for these serious times and hopefully we have one.

Just found out my 78 year old parents voted for a Democrat in a national election for the 1st time since Lyndon Johnson. It is a strange thing to hear them talking about George W Bush in such demeaning terms.

2008-11-10 08:50:20
13.   chris in illinois
10 Dragging the 'w' key crap out again I see...I suppose the GAO review of the 'damage' that found that "the condition of the real property was consistent with what we would expect to encounter when tenants vacate office space after an extended occupancy." is meaningless and that the Bush Administration couldn't possibly be capable of bending, stretching or obscuring the truth??

A chronicle of the 'scandal' and the BS the Bush administration fed to the press about it is detailed here:

Regarding the pardon, as previously stated, a pardon is a tacit admission of guilt. The pardoned party is essentially declaring their guilt. Obama should let the investigations fall to the congress and the Justice department.

2008-11-10 10:00:01
14.   das411
3 - What war crimes?

4 - What "closing a chapter and moving forward"?

2008-11-10 10:40:06
15.   jgpyke
13 Um, does this WaPo newswire item, posted after the Salon article mean anything?

It's fun seeing your blood pressure shoot up, though.

2008-11-10 10:43:20
16.   jgpyke
13 Or how about the GAO study that concluded one year later?
2008-11-10 11:24:58
17.   chris in illinois
16 Or this one a week earlier:

What is clear is that the 'horrible acts of vandalism' were pretty minor-league stuff, but it is also clear that some childish pranks were committed at the White House that betray a level of classlessness.

Fair enough.

I, too, hope that the current administration can restrain itself during the transition from creating a similar mess...of course the mess they've left outside of the White House is big enough.

2008-11-10 11:39:57
18.   jgpyke
17 some childish pranks

Yep, that is consistent with what I said in 10 (sophomoric prank). I made a point about Obama and GWB being above such petty stuff, and you flipped out.

I thought Obama's 3 AM stunt of the VP pick was a childish move, too. I hope he is now rising above that. Look, this is small stuff, and enormous expectations have been placed on him. If he really wants to heal America and be the transformational guy the Donks have been waiting for--the Reagan for the new generation (as Peter Beinart hopes)--then he's got his work cut out for him. All this pardoning, investigating, etc., is a bad precedent and will only serve to further divide the country. I am curious to see if the lofty Obama campaign rhetoric is for real.

That, and I think he should put Jerry Brown on his cabinet. AG? HUD? ED?

2008-11-10 12:38:20
19.   chris in illinois
18 I was trying to kind of acknowledge that in my post.

To be clear, I agree that the Clinton people were poor sports, but that was pretty much it---it wasn't some gigantic scandal.

I overreacted.

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