Re: Huckster

1

I don't know. I think you're seeing an unexpected first skirmish for the "soul of the Republican Party." I wouldn't bet against the social conservatives/Southern conservatives. Contra your claim, I think the Republican Party has been, of late, a friend to that set of people. And having had a taste of power, I don't think they're going to just give it up without a fight.

Romney and Giuliani seem like direct affronts to those people. (I'm not one of them, so blocks of salt.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:11 PM
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anyone who did those things just shouldn't be in public life

Not to imply that there aren't morally questionable activities discussed in the article, but what precisely are "those things" to which you are referring?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:12 PM
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What I can't believe is that Huckabee used the "nobody could have predicted" line in his defense recently. Hasn't the Bush administration made that phrase enough of a punchline that any non-brain-damaged politician would know to avoid it?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:21 PM
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Following on #1, there's this comment from Rich Lowry:

Part of what seems to be going on with the Huckabee surge is evangelicals sticking their thumbs in the eyes of the chattering class--we're still here, we still matter, and we still care about our signature issues. Remember the lack of excitement in the Republican race, especially among dispirited social conservatives? Well, now there is some excitement, and it isn't over free market economics or the war on terror, but a candidate who doesn't speak compellingly about either of those things but instead about social issues. As a friend I was talking to a little earlier points out, the most important moment of the campaign so far came when a social conservative excited a social conservative audience--Huckabee with his "I come from you" speech at the "values summit." This friend argues that the Huck surge makes it harder, not easier, for Rudy to win the nomination. Now that many evangelicals have a horse in this race, it would be very hard to tell them that not only will their guy not get the nomination, but they'll have to settle for a pro-choicer. I don't know about that, but Huck has certainly trashed about nine months-worth of conventional wisdom on the changing nature of social conservative voters.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:28 PM
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I only skimmed Waas' piece, but letting criminals out of prison early doesn't bother me so much. The alternative is that a lot of people who aren't a real danger rot in prison. This reeks of Willy Horton-ism to me.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:28 PM
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The interesting "horse race" aspect of this story is too see who will push it, subtly or not. It is clear that Huckabee is not the first choice of the money/oil/Cheney part of Republicanland. (I think Novak's preemptive shot across the bow from last week shows that quite clearly.) However, since then he has gotten some props from Norquist (clearly because he thinks Huckabee is trainable), so interesting to see how scorched earth the big guns go. He is not their cup of tea - but then they loves them some apostasy, lets them know that a candidate understands the game.

"Nobody could have predicted" that Huckabee would be a two-faced lying hypocrite who sold out to get elected.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:31 PM
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Huckabee did make proper obeisance to Norquist's poisonous little pledge during the YouTube debate. Thompson and McCain both refused on principle---which I rather admired.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:35 PM
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However, since then he has gotten some props from Norquist (clearly because he thinks Huckabee is trainable)

Not just trainable, but also the guy with whom he might have to deal. Grover might be finding out that he doesn't really want a fight with the social conservatives. After all, he fights a lot of fights at lower levels, and, IIRC, the social conservatives are the ones with the grassroots infrastructure.

I find this fascinating and a little scary.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:35 PM
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5: He covered up receiving letters from multiple victims of the parolee in question. Also, there's this from Waas' piece, which is the real issue:

"The activists claimed that Dumond's initial imprisonment and various other travails were due to the fact that Ashley Stevens, the high school cheerleader he had raped, was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton, and the daughter of a major Clinton campaign contributor."

So Huckabee released a convicted rapist because he was under pressure from the anti-Clinton right, and then said rapist went on to rape and kill again. That's the disqualifier, not merely the fact he released someone from prison.


Posted by: Mock Turtle | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:35 PM
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Dukakis didn't personally intervene to get Willie Horton out of jail.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:35 PM
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I said a year and a half ago (unverifiably by any of you, as it turns out) that it'd be Huckabee/Obama. Just you watch!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:45 PM
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This reminds me of something.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:46 PM
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5, 9: Yeah, just to underline this Huckabee personally intervened to get this guy's sentence commuted because it had become part of a loony tune anti-Clinton conspiracy theory. The people who Huckabee was following believed that because the victim was a distant cousin of Clinton's Clinton had (1) an innocent man framed and jailed and (2) castrated (the icky addendum to this story).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:48 PM
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Are we going to end up with 2 Southerners again, Huckabee vs Edwards? This is unbearable.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:51 PM
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So I'm driving to work this morning and I see a Burning Man sticker on the (clean, new) Mercedes-Benz in front of me. This is the new "Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac", yes?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:51 PM
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Burning Man ain't no hippies, but that is kind of stupid.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:53 PM
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The icky epilogue to the story is that the local sheriff kept the guy's testicles in a jar on dispaly in his office.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:54 PM
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Also, just as a side note, even if the "money/oil/Cheney part of Republicanland" doesn't or didn't really have a problem with Huckabee, I have a hard time seeing them signing up to be "Willie Horton"-ed on this in the general.


Posted by: Mock Turtle | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:55 PM
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Actually, I guess it speaks to the *ification of Burning Man, whereas the Deadhead sticker speaks to the *ification of the Cadillac driver, so not completely parallel.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:55 PM
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Here's a 1996 New York Post article on the innocence of St. Dumond. Scroll past the paranoid ranting to.. well.. the other paranoid ranting.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:55 PM
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17 RUFKM?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:55 PM
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I was hoping for the all-Southerner apo/mcmanus ticket, myself.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:55 PM
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though the all-downer ticket of emerson/mcmanus or mcmanus/emerson has its appeal as well.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 1:59 PM
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21: Nope.

The dispute is whether it was done by Dumond himself (more-mainstream version) or two thugs acting on the Sheriff's orders (wingnut version)

The whole story mainly makes me want to stay far, far away from Arkansas.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:02 PM
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21: No lie


He used to be enraged about it, especially when the cracker sheriff, who was a pal of the rape victim's father, scooped up DuMond's balls, put them in a jar, and showed them off.

"They were mine. Those were my testicles," DuMond told a sickened courtroom in 1988.

Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:05 PM
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Staying far, far away from Arkansas is sort of over-determined, innit?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:06 PM
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I'm still looking at 2--what exactly is the accusation here? Governors can pardon, which isn't what happened but is close enough. Is it purely that he [pardoned] a rapist? That he [pardoned] a rapist perhaps largely due to some deranged anti-Clintonism? It's not really clear that he believed the deranged anti-Clintonism; this, like most [pardons], was probably mostly political.

Is it just the dishonesty surroudning the "no reason to think the guy would rape/kill again"? Was there actually any more reason to think this guy would relapse than there is for any rapist on release from prison?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:06 PM
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I must say, the Village Voice article I linked to had an unseemly amount of fun with with Dumond's misfortune:

This is yet another Clinton saga of genitalia that fell into the wrong hands.

Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:08 PM
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what exactly is the accusation here?

Read the HuffPost piece. It ain't the crime; it's the cover-up. He's been caught lying about how it was handled and hiding letters written by prior victims.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:10 PM
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on the grounds that anyone who did those things just shouldn't be in public life.

Not going to contest that, but I stated in another thread that I think the best match-up, for the nation, is Huckabee vs. Obama. At least Huckabee is against torture, and for closing gitmo.

This seems to me to be an interesting question: which match-up would you like to see, and why? I'm sure plenty of ppl here have been following the races more closely than me.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:11 PM
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2: While Huckabee was governor, the jail sentence of Wayne Dumond, a convicted rapist sentence was reduced to time served, after which Dumond committed more rapes and murders. It has been widely believed that Huckabee was responsible for the early release, and questions had been raised about the guilt of the rapist because the original victim was a cousin of Bill Clinton's, and therefore the rapist wasn't really guilty. (I oversummarize.)

A governor might make such a choice for good or at least forgivable reasons -- maybe evidence was ambiguous, maybe the governor freed a bunch of people and only Dumond turned out to be a bad idea in hindsight, maybe the Clinton connection genuinely had no effect on stuff -- but he HuffPo article claims that evidence of the Dumond's guilt was not ambiguous at all, the Clinton motivation is likewise certain, and Huckabee has been deceptive at the very least about it. By themselves those might not be greater sins than those of some other candidates, but the consequences were very horrible.

And yet, I don't find myself surprised or disturbed by this story, which makes me feel a little guilty. Partly it's because I had already heard the story about the pardon and the reason, so this just gave more detail to the story. But the main reason I'm not surprised is because, come on, what part of it is hard to believe? A presidential candidate trying to keep something like all this quiet? Anything else would be amazing. A politician, especially a male southern Republican, treats rape like not that big a deal? Again, not very surprising. A moralizing Republican who has a big skeleton in his closet? Boring by now. A Republican career politician, with both his cultural movement and personal friends encouraging him, does something to hurt or at least insult liberals and the Clintons and who cares about the consequences? That's totally fricking dog bites man.

I can be pretty partisan, but even I have my limits. My co-workers and I all disagree with our state's Republican governor, but we can still exchange small talk with him and not assume he would free a known rapist for political advantage. So I felt a little guilty because if I'm not surprised, that must mean I'm being unfairly and prejudicially partisan, right? I should be more open-minded, right? But you know, to hell with that. If Huckabee appears to be the most moral and moralistic Republican candidate, that's their problem, not mine.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:12 PM
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Wikipedia on Dumon'ds balls:

Dumond was castrated prior to his trial; he stated that he was attacked by two men in his home (though district prosecutor Gene Raff suggested it was a case of self-mutilation[120] and a urologist who'd studied the topic told the Forrest City Times-Herald that self-mutilation isn't that rare among psychologically disturbed sex offenders.[121])


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:15 PM
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32--
conversely, psychological disturbance isn't that rare among the forcibly castrated, whether auto- or allo-.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:17 PM
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27

The accusation is that he caused to be released a dangerous convicted rapist for no good reason and that said dangerous felon then raped and killed someone. Seems like a perfectly legitimate line of attack to me.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:17 PM
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27: It's not really clear that he believed the deranged anti-Clintonism; this, like most [pardons], was probably mostly political.

This seems to me like a really, really, really, really, really weak defense.

And you know, that's all I was trying to say in the first two paragraphs of my last comment. My editing style is really penny-wise and pound-foolish.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:17 PM
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29: I read/skimmed the piece. Not wanting letters from prior victims released seems natural. The lies about how things were handled are shady, but hardly ghastly.

I'm not saying he did nothing wrong; it's purely the "anyone who did those things just shouldn't be in public life" that is striking to me. Again, what things? Apo's "not the crime but the coverup" suggests the [pardon] itself wasn't a terribly big deal. But the coverup seems less of a deal to me. It seems not at all out of the mainstream for a modern politician.

To me, this story pales in comparison to a lot of Guiliani's past acts.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:17 PM
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36 cont: (But I really am open to the idea that I'm missing some morally horrendous aspect of the story.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:18 PM
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This seems to me like a really, really, really, really, really weak defense, especially given the strong evidence beforehand that it was a bad idea and the high consequences afterward.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:19 PM
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what exactly is the accusation here?

In fact, it is both the crime and the coverup that's a problem here. This is more than a case of a governor making an unlucky choice. Huckabee from the git-go wanted to let this rapist go in order to feed the anti-Clinton hysteria regarding Dumond. As Waas says:

Shortly after taking office in 1996, Huckabee announced his intention to commute Dumond's sentence to time served. A public outcry ensued.

Huckabee's own version of this - that he had no personal interest in setting Dumond free, that it was all the Parole Board's doing - is plainly contradicted by the facts. I suppose the fact that Dumond turned into a murderer - rather than a serial rapist - was a bit of bad luck, as these things go, but cutting loose a rapist for political reasons is still bad news.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:22 PM
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36--
"To me, this story pales in comparison to a lot of Guiliani's past acts."

granted, but: low bar much?

if the price of ending huckabee's public life is that in order to maintain proportion we have to end giuliani's life altogether, well, dadgum it, i guess i'll have to let it happen.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:22 PM
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oops - this was supposed to be a block quote from Waas:

Shortly after taking office in 1996, Huckabee announced his intention to commute Dumond's sentence to time served. A public outcry ensued.

Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:23 PM
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The accusation is that he caused to be released a dangerous convicted rapist for no good reason

If that's the entirety of the accusation (which others have made clear it's not, but which you seem to take it to be), I don't think that's a big deal. I mean, I think it's horrible, but I don't like executive pardons at all. If we're going to have them, I don't think it's fair to say you can only safely pardon white-collar criminals, which is what this comes dangerously close to.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:24 PM
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I don't think it's fair to say you can only safely pardon white-collar criminals

Violent predators might be a better way of looking at it, rather than white- versus blue-collar.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:25 PM
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Does he have to have committed some unique wrong for this to be bad? Of all the reasons given upthread, the fact that he seems to have commuted the sentence partly out of anti-Clinton wingnuttiness might come closest to satisfying that criterion.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:25 PM
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Anyhow, the real issue here is whether the other GOP candidates are going to start swinging this as a club now that he's moving to the front of the pack, not whether you and I think it's appropriate. And my gut tells me, oh hell yes they will.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:27 PM
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Huckabee from the git-go wanted to let this rapist go in order to feed the anti-Clinton hysteria regarding Dumond.

Again, the accusation here is just a pardon for less than pure motive; for simple political motive. Am I mistaken to believe that's the case as often as not?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:27 PM
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Am I mistaken to believe that's the case as often as not?

I believe you would be, yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:29 PM
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Read mano negra's link up at 20 for a full taste of the wacko vitriol surrounding Clinton and the innocent victim Dumond. The link contains both some wacko internet ranting, plus a re-post of a NY Post article describing Dumond's victimhood.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:29 PM
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Does he have to have committed some unique wrong for this to be bad?

No, of course not. But I would think he would have to have committed some unique, or at least grave, wrong for "anyone who did those things just shouldn't be in public life" to be a true statement.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:30 PM
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47: okay, that changes things.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:31 PM
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36: But the coverup seems less of a deal to me. It seems not at all out of the mainstream for a modern politician.

I agree with this, which was kinda the point of 31.

I think you might be looking for too much specific meaning in the phrase, "Anyone who did those things just shouldn't be in public life." Not to put words in FL's mouth, but maybe the statement was limited to Huckabee only because the article is the most recent big example, and/or because it's such a strong contrast with his reputation as a good person. Just because Huckabee shouldn't be in public life doesn't mean Guiliani also shouldn't.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:31 PM
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What's the game here, that you restate all the accusations in the most general, anodyne terms? Politicians play politics, yes, but people are outraged when they play politics with decisions that go on to have serious real-world consequences, like W and Iraq, Huckabee and Dumond. You pardon Marc Rich, no one is going to get killed; you pardon Wayne Dumond, someone might.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:31 PM
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45: My question is what happens if it doesn't work. I mean, it should, but I'm not sure I understand the Republican base at all.

46: It's the nature of the pardonee. Political pardons for rapists/murderers seem horrendously ill-advised, for obvious reasons. Political pardons for tax evasion have much less potential to go horribly wrong.


Posted by: Mock Turtle | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:34 PM
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I think 51 may be right. If FL believes there are numerous candidates in the running who "just shouldn't be in public life", then fine, he'd like a more respectable set of politicians--me too. If this is supposed to single out Huckabee as worse than the rest of the pack, I still don't get it.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:36 PM
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52: I'd add that the specific motive in the Dumond pardon - promoting a crazy anti-Clinton smear - is a despicable thing independent of the actual method he chose to promote the smear.

But who am I kidding? I'm glad to see that worthless sumbitch Huckabee get his, regardless of the reason. Even if his pardoning a rapist to score political points was perfectly normal and reasonable for a politician, I'm still happy he seems to be getting screwed for it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:40 PM
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51: Maybe. But other than Guiliani, I really have trouble coming up with such disqualifiers for the Republican candidates based on what they've actually done in office, rather than their positions or rhetoric.

Romney -- nothing comes to mind.
McCain -- Keating Five, but he's tried to make amends with CFR.
Thompson -- Leaking to Nixon during Watergate?
Paul -- No scandals I'm aware of, just general nuttiness.
Tancredo -- Anti-immigrant, but again, no scandals.


Posted by: Mock Turtle | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:41 PM
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Let me try it another way. The good reasons for pardoning a criminal mostly involve a settled belief that they won't do it again. So if you have such a belief, there's nothing too wrong with pardoning anyone, no matter what they've done, because you're not putting people at risk.

Bad reasons for pardoning someone can lack that belief -- you're letting a criminal out despite thinking that they may still pose a danger to the public. So once you're pardoning someone for political reasons, you're responsible for evaluating how much of a risk you're putting the public at, and weighing that risk against the political benefits you expect.

Pardoning Marc Rich? Minimal danger to the public (and I'd agree that the pardon actually made sense, or at least that the initial prosecution of Rich didn't). Pardoning a serial rapist like Wayne Drummond? Significant danger to the public. Knowingly endangering the public for political gain? Poor form.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:44 PM
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I agree with everything in 57. But Guiliani spends his weekends waterboarding people while dressed in drag. And McCain loves to kill middle eastern people of all stripes.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:49 PM
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Yeah, I think Labs is making a distinction between policy horribleness and political/venal horribleness, and holding the latter to a higher standard. You don't think of McCain as being beyond the pale for being a warmonger, because you believe that he thinks being a warmonger is good. Huckabee, on the other hand, didn't let this guy out because he thought it was right, it was because he thought he and his party would get a political benefit from it.

I'm not sure that's a good distinction, but I think it's the one being made.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:53 PM
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58: I think your point has to be conceded: It's tough to stand out for villainy in this crowd. But this seems excessively heteronormative to me:

spends his weekends waterboarding people while dressed in drag

Who cares how he's dressed?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:53 PM
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59: I might be willing to grant you McCain, but I don't think Guiliani has does a lot of the things he has done because he necessarily thinks of them as "good".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:55 PM
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(in the sense that you are using the word)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:56 PM
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42

"... If we're going to have them, I don't think it's fair to say you can only safely pardon white-collar criminals, which is what this comes dangerously close to."

Any pardon is risky, however it is less risky if you have a good reason which Huckabee didn't. If he had pardoned Dumond because of convincing evidence of actual innocence that would be defensible even if the result had been the same.

As for pardoning white-collar criminals Clinton was justifiably severely criticzed for his pardon of Rich so that is hardly safe either.

I won't defend the shouldn't be in public life bit as that is up to the voters but this episode did show extremely poor judgement on Huckabee's part and voters are entitled to decide Huckabee is not someone they want making life or death decisions.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:56 PM
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61: Yeah, I'm more referring to this argument as what I think Labs may be thinking than making it myself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:56 PM
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Huckabee, on the other hand, didn't let this guy out because he thought it was right, it was because he thought he and his party would get a political benefit from it.

I think this might under-estimate the anti-Clinton mindset. I find it entirely conceivable that Huckabee hated Clinton enough to believe the conspiracy stories.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:57 PM
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Also, Huckabee said he was sorry.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:57 PM
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AND I think 65 may be right, although I think that makes things worse, not better.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:59 PM
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Who cares how he's dressed?

I do. I do not care to have a President in drag, particularly a drag put-on as bad as Rudy's.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 2:59 PM
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In summary: if you think this makes Huckabee unfot for public office, you must also believe Guiliani unfit for public office. I don't think there's any reasonable and consistent way around that.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:01 PM
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unfit, not unfot


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:01 PM
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If he had pardoned Dumond because of convincing evidence of actual innocence that would be defensible even if the result had been the same.

This is it. He didn't have good reasons to be wrong, and it looks like he ignored good reasons that would have kept him from being wrong. Even if he hated Clinton enough to believe the conspiracy, that does not speak well of his judgment.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:01 PM
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59

"... Huckabee, on the other hand, didn't let this guy out because he thought it was right, it was because he thought he and his party would get a political benefit from it."

Actually the more disturbing possibility is that Huckabee did think it was right in which case he is severely out of touch with reality and I don't want his finger anywhere near the button.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:02 PM
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15, 19: Whatever *-ification of BM there is has been there from the beginning.

Now, a few years ago I saw a Black Flag sticker on a Benz. *That's* the new "Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:03 PM
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69: okay!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:03 PM
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73: Are you sure you weren't just listening to the Ataris' useless cover of "Boys of Summer", wherein they sing

Out on the road today
I saw a Black Flag sticker on a Cadillac
A little voice inside my head said, etc


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:06 PM
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I feel like it should be possible to turn this thread in a feminist direction.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:07 PM
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Surely nobody is arguing here that Giuliani is fit for public office?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:07 PM
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69: Deal. You let us chase Huckabee out of public life, and we'll let you destroy Giuliani.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:07 PM
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"Dear Wayne," wrote Huckabee, "...My desire is that you be released from prison."

Also:

"The new Governor, Mike Huckabee, has assured me Wayne will be a free man," Mrs. Dumond said Thursday. "He is not one of the Clinton crowd. He is a very fair man. He has always been disturbed about the way the Clinton people never wanted my husband free," she added.

I think he did believe the crazy anti-Clinton conspiracy mongers (who also believed, by the way, that Clinton ordered the castration of Dumond). I've no doubt that he now realizes he made a massive error of judgement, but...I think an error of this magnitude should be enough to keep someone out of the high office.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:08 PM
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78--
i offered an even better deal in 40


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:09 PM
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69, 77 -- Well, yeah, they both have (R) after their name.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:14 PM
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57

"Pardoning Marc Rich? Minimal danger to the public (and I'd agree that the pardon actually made sense, or at least that the initial prosecution of Rich didn't). ..."

What are you saying here, that Rich is not actually a big crook as popularly supposed?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:16 PM
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75: Quite. I was amused when that cover came out, given that I'd seen just that years before the Ataris recorded it.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:19 PM
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I think a lot of Republicans won't have any trouble understanding why Huckabee would do something despicable in the interest of defaming Clinton. But this might be a problem for him:

Huckabee also wrote in his campaign book that his intervention on Dumond's behalf reflected his broad philosophy that the criminal justice system is too harsh, and that his religious faith requires him to take chances to act with compassion towards the accused.

Christian compassion? That ain't gonna cut it in the Grand Old (Testament) Party.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:19 PM
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I think, from a Dem perspective, the less said about the Dumond thing the better, unless and until Huckabee actually gets nominated.

The best storyline we could hope to see on the Republican side is Saint Huckabee being ratfucked by the moneycons after winning in Iowa, and Giuliani/Romney/McCain ending up winning the nomination, thus sharpening the differences and resentment within the party. That story only happens if the voters in Iowa don't first give up on Huckabee in disgust because of the Dumond business.

Aside from wanting that to happen, I don't really care which Republican gets the nomination. They'd all be horrible presidents, but none of them seems like a terrifyingly skilled campaigner. Any of them will have some strengths, and some flaws that can be exploited. And the rest is unpredictable.


Posted by: Lurker Without Cool Name | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:24 PM
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82: Yeah. I'd have to look it up again to opine reliably, but as far as I recall the conviction was for a very technical category of corporate tax fraud. Because of the level of technicality, there had been a policy of pursuing such cases only as civil matters, because the legality or illegality of the conduct was very unclear -- the IRS would bring suit to get the proper payment, and to make it clear what the law was, but wouldn't prosecute criminally because it seemed apparent that the intent was to push the limits of the law, rather than to overpass them.

Giuliani changed that policy, and criminally prosecuted Marc Rich, after which the policy was changed back -- Rich was the only defendant prosecuted under similar circumstances. (All these facts are from memory, and may be somewhat garbled, but I'm pretty sure of the gist of it.)

Now, he wasn't an innocent lamb -- his entities were sailing close to the wind with respect to their taxes, and he stayed in Europe rather than submitting to prosecution in the US -- and his pardon was certainly motivated by his relationship with the Clintons, but there's a decent argument that he shouldn't have been prosecuted at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:28 PM
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56
51: Maybe. But other than Guiliani, I really have trouble coming up with such disqualifiers for the Republican candidates based on what they've actually done in office, rather than their positions or rhetoric.

Forgive the snark rather than a substantive response, but all the qualifiers in that paragraph sure are doing a lot of work. "Other than one of the leading candidates, ignoring what the rest support or have supported and only considering what they have actually personally done, there are hardly any well-known deal-breaking scandals."


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:35 PM
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Pardoning Marc Rich? Minimal danger to the public (and I'd agree that the pardon actually made sense, or at least that the initial prosecution of Rich didn't).

Is there a story there that I'm missing? IIRC the guy was a fugitive who'd jumped bail after being convicted on tax charges, or something like that.

77, 78: Yeah, I don't think anyone here has a problem with 69.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:43 PM
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88 see 86.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:45 PM
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87: Oh, I don't deny it. I was just trying to think of a way to limit "disqualification from public office," in keeping with the spirit of the post, so that it wasn't every single Republican candidate. If substantive policy was on the table, it'd be a different story.


Posted by: Mock Turtle | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:48 PM
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87: Plus, it's hard to show any evidence that someone in Congress has ever accomplished anything that everyone else in his party didn't also accomplish.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:49 PM
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86

"... I'd have to look it up again to opine reliably, but as far as I recall the conviction was for a very technical category of corporate tax fraud. ..."

Since he was never tried I don't think there was a conviction. Tax cheats normally claim the violations were only technical. Leona Helmsley went to jail for her corporate returns, do you think she should have been prosecuted criminally?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:49 PM
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Shit, missed the prior question and the answer by the time I got 88 posted. I ban myself.

But this:

Yeah. I'd have to look it up again to opine reliably, but as far as I recall the conviction was for a very technical category of corporate tax fraud. Because of the level of technicality, there had been a policy of pursuing such cases only as civil matters, because the legality or illegality of the conduct was very unclear -- the IRS would bring suit to get the proper payment, and to make it clear what the law was, but wouldn't prosecute criminally because it seemed apparent that the intent was to push the limits of the law, rather than to overpass them.

raises my recovering-tax-lawyer hackles pretty high. I don't know any details of Rich's case, but I'd be very surprised if he was prosecuted in the face of any legitimate debate as to the legality of the tax position. The game is to come up with just enough bullshit veneer of professional blessing for your fraud to be able to make precisely this argument. I hate that, and I clap like hell when somebody gets called on it criminally as well as civilly. (See also KPMG, etc.; IMO there should have been a hell of a lot more prosecutions. Self-interested mass delusion is not a legitimate defense.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:51 PM
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88: On reflection, I think Brock is just trolling all of the Giuliani supporters here.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:54 PM
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92: Conviction was a slip of the keyboard -- I believe you're right about his not having been convicted.

93: You sound like more of an expert on this than I -- corporate tax is not at all my thing. But what I recall reading was that what he was doing was in violation of a genuinely unsettled area of law, and that for that reason there was a formal policy of not prosecuting cases under the regulations he violated: a policy that was changed for his prosecution, and then reinstated after it. (I'm not alleging it was a plot to get him particularly, just that the policy was again recognized as a good idea.) Let me google for a source -- I remember being convinced by this, but couldn't tell you where I read it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:55 PM
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20: The writer in the "other paranoid ranting" in that link once quoted me at a protest as saying I was "committed to being a pain in the ass to corporate America."

I think he thought he was hoisting me by my own petard, but I dug it.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:56 PM
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Remedying selective and arbitrary enforcement of laws that are usually ignored by prosecutors is what the pardon power is all about.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:57 PM
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what I recall reading was that what he was doing was in violation of a genuinely unsettled area of law,

I assume it was someone other than his lawyer making this claim? I'm not trying to be snarky, but it's hard to believe that could be an objectively reported fact. I'm fairly certain the prosecutor didn't characterize things that way.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 3:57 PM
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95.2: I have a very strong suspicion that you're getting sucked in by the sort of spin one might expect on a matter where the interests of the Clinton Administration and the WSJ editorial page end up aligned, but I'm mostly talking out my ass. No claims of technical expertise beyond some familiarity with various doesn't-pass-the-giggle-test schemes that were being marketed by supposedly reputable tax professionals to supposedly reputable clients before Enron spoiled things for everybody.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:03 PM
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98: Yeah, I'm googling and finding mostly stuff from his lawyers, which I'm not bothering to link. The policy change I'm thinking of was apparently a policy of not using RICO to prosecute corporate tax cases, though, and that's what convinced me -- RICO's a sucky, horrible, very bad law, that allows prosecution of stuff that really shouldn't be prosecutable, and it makes sense not to use it for tax cases. Save it for actual racketeering, or repeal the darn thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:04 PM
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Remedying selective and arbitrary enforcement of laws that are usually ignored by prosecutors is what the pardon power is all about.

Which is why burglars and drug dealers are routinely pardoned: it wouldn't be fair to keep them in jail for something that people mostly get away with.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:05 PM
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95

As long as I am quibbling Pinky Green was prosecuted along with Rich so Rich was not actually unique.

More seriously I was also under the impression that getting Rich for taxes was like getting Al Capone for taxes, that Rich was a big time crook and a proper object of prosecutorial discretion.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:06 PM
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77

"Surely nobody is arguing here that Giuliani is fit for public office?"

Ok, what is the specific accusation against Giuliani?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:10 PM
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More seriously I was also under the impression that getting Rich for taxes was like getting Al Capone for taxes, that Rich was a big time crook and a proper object of prosecutorial discretion.

Not as far as I know; while certainly he had some unsavory looking dealings (e.g., dealing with Iran during the hostage crisis), Rich was a businessman rather than someone generally identified as a criminal.

After some quick googling, I'm not going to the mat for this one -- I remember being convinced, but what convinced me were the changed in Justice Department policy, and while I've found some elliptical references, nothing that lays it out clearly enough to rely on. Maybe sometime I have more time to look.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:13 PM
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Now, he wasn't an innocent lamb -- his entities were sailing close to the wind with respect to their taxes, and he stayed in Europe rather than submitting to prosecution in the US -- and his pardon was certainly motivated by his relationship with the Clintons, but there's a decent argument that he shouldn't have been prosecuted at all.

Consider me agog.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:17 PM
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Ok, what is the specific accusation against Giuliani?

We could start with how his fascism takes up where Bush's leaves off.

"Hey everybody, I think it would be best if we just didn't have an election for a while and left me in office, mkay?"


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:17 PM
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I can think of one thing and one thing alone that would take Giuliani's strength and turn it into a weakness in the general election. And that thing is consistently and straightfacedly referring to him as "Benito Giuliani".

If there's something this blog should devote itself to during the coming year, that is it. And in random conversations with people, too.

It's amusing, it's unfair, and it's true.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:22 PM
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100: OK, yeah, if we're talking abuse of RICO I'm probably with you. But if we're talking about very aggressive tax avoidance/evasion by the wealthy and powerful, I'm more on the side of prosecuting whenever you think you can make it stick in the interests of convincing folks that their lily-white asses aren't immune to jail time after all.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:26 PM
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Ok, what is the specific accusation against Giuliani?

A penchant for exercising power under a cloak of secrecy that makes the current OVP look like a model of open government. I commend to you this piece from the Washington Monthly (a publication that everyone with $20 to spare should consider subscribing to).


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:26 PM
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Wait, how was Giuliani in a position to pardon someone of a federal crime?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:28 PM
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I can think of one thing and one thing alone that would take Giuliani's strength

I don't think he's that strong a candidate. The pro gun people hate his guts, he sounds like a damn lunatic, the latest stuff about money and cops being made to ferry his mistress around, etc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:29 PM
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103.---Attempting to suspend elections is enough for me, but there's a lot of other evidence of his preferring to accrue all power in himself.

107.---I've been enjoying the "small man in search of a balcony" line that's been going around lately.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:29 PM
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107: Way to bring the Italian-American Non-Defamation League down on us, Ned.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:30 PM
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he sounds like is a damn lunatic

Unusually complex typo there.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:31 PM
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110: Giuliani prosecuted Rich, he didn't Pardon him.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:33 PM
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I have no idea if this has yet been linked in this thread, but y'all *did* see Red State Update's recent show about Huckabee, didn't you? Funniest thing they've done in a while.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 4:41 PM
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As long as I am quibbling Pinky Green was prosecuted along with Rich so Rich was not actually unique.

And also pardoned along with Rich, but not talked about as much because he wasn't as closely connected a donor. Funny, that.

There are a lot of people in jail who deserve to be pardoned, which is why it rankles when somebody gets clemency who shouldn't.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 5:05 PM
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117: No, I don't think that's why it rankles. Pardoning someone undeserving probably doesn't substitute for a pardon of someone deserving. The two factors limiting the number of Presidential pardons I can think of are how much time and attention the President wants to give to pardons (and time/pardon has gotta be pretty low, so doubt any Pres. is near the max. where one pardon pushes another out) and, more importantly political pressure not to pardon. But on this factor again, it seems doubtful that the undeserving pardon is using up ability to resist political pressure which could have been used instead for a good pardon.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 5:24 PM
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Not just Presidents can give executive clemency but also many governors, many of whom have an eye on their future popularity. It does seem to me like attention to bad clemency would have a chilling effect on future pardons.

But there are, I admit, various other reasons why interceding to free a serial rapist might rankle.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 5:49 PM
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And that thing is consistently and straightfacedly referring to him as "Benito Giuliani".

I can't remember if it was Sullivan or someone else who described Giuliani as "a little man in search of balcony," but it's the best description of him I've heard so far.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 7:18 PM
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120: Jimmy Breslin called him "a small man in search of a balcony", according to several links I found by googling the phrase.


Posted by: Dave MB | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 9:24 PM
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Hello? 112!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-07 9:30 PM
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71
"Even if he hated Clinton enough to believe the conspiracy, that does not speak well of his judgment."

The villification of the Clintons and the resulting anit-Clinton mindset within the current administration is a root cause of the most spectacular disastors of the last 7 years. Starting with ignoring Al Queda intelligence, replacing professionals with hacks in the Iraq reconstruction team, FEMA and the Justice department all stem from the mindset that if it worked for the Clintons then it must be evil and avoided.

Huckabee's joke about sending Hillary to Mars in the last republican debate shows that he didn't learn from the Drummond issue. Morally the decision to pardon Drummond to score political points was reprehenisible. I'd argue that this same mindset lead to 9/11.

Its important for people to know that the nature of political discourse can have a profound effect on the way the country is governed. Leaders that do not reject personal villification as legitimate political discourse should not be considered fit to govern. People who govern by pandering to this type of personal discourse should be run out of public life.


Posted by: jamacker | Link to this comment | 12- 6-07 9:57 AM
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1.) Heh, it's not pardoning, but one of the things that Hillary Clinton said about drug sentencing reminded me yet again why I don't like her. She opposes retroactively reducing crack cocaine sentences if the Federal sentencing guidelines equalize the sentencing recommendations for crack and powder cocaine.

2.) raises my recovering-tax-lawyer hackles pretty high Not Prince Hamlet, is it really that bad? Is there room for the slightly less aggressive? Tax is an area that I've seriously considered going into. Some of it seems to me to be pushing the edge, but the code is complicated enough that I think that the unsuspecting can punish people unfairly. (The example I'm thinking of is a California divorce where the way that the division of the maritally-owned, incorporated business occurred, meant that one party wound up paying nearly all of the taxes. After taxes, it wasn't a 50/50 division, and one party wound up with very little.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 6-07 10:24 AM
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124: I'm not NPH, but: like all areas of law, it depends on your clients. Mom and pop shops, or individuals, can easily get screwed due to poor tax planning, and an attorney helping them navigate the code is doing very good and socially useful work. Many large corporations, and some wealthy individuals, in contrast, are looking to minimize their taxes to the greatest extent possible. This means taking some very aggressive positions, that are clearly contrary to the spirit, if perhaps not the letter of the law. You could try to give them "slightly less agressive" advice, but they're likely to find another lawyer who'll push harder. Tax lawyers joke that when you drive by delapidated schools or on crumbling roadways, you ought to think of them. It's (almost) all legal, or at least arguably legal, but a lot of it stinks.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 6-07 10:45 AM
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124.2: Pretty much what Brock said. There's lots of perfectly good work to be done. What I'm mostly commenting on is the mass self-deluding greedfest that swept through the upper reaches of the profession in the pre-Enron years, where good law and accounting firms were basically whoring their names to provide a veneer of legitimacy to schemes that relied on the sort of legal reasoning one ordinarily associates with tax protestors.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 6-07 12:17 PM
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126: Which unfortunately hasn't even nearly been paid out.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 6-07 12:19 PM
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98

"... I'm fairly certain the prosecutor didn't characterize things that way."

See here for the prosecution version.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 6-07 4:01 PM
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