Thursday, April 29, 2010

Flashback: Clinton's (Obama's) Supposed Concerns

USA Today quotes President Obama (who has yet to grant a single presidential pardon or commutation of sentence) as saying:
"If you're convicted of a crime involving drugs, of course you should be punished. But let's not make the punishment for crack cocaine that much more severe than the punishment for powder cocaine when the real difference between the two is the color of the skin of the people using them."
Which reminds us of a passage from a professional paper delivered at the Southern Political Science Association meeting in 1991:
Clinton told a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine that the sentences in “many [drug] cases” of were “far too long for non-violent offenders.” The President also expressed his view that it was “unconscionable” to punish crack cocaine offenders more harshly than powder cocaine offenders. In December 2000, USA Today speculated Clinton’s views might translate into “hundreds” of pardons at the end of the term.
And, in fact, there were hundreds of pardon at the end of the term alright, but mostly for Clinton's relatives, donors, fellow partisans and persons with the necessary connections to bypass the normal processes for clemency.

In other words: We've all been here before.

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