Friday, January 13, 2012

In Defense of Barbour (Kinda)

In today's U.S. News, Mary Cary (drowsy Cubs' fans, please relax), a former speech writer for Mississippi Governor, who knows him "pretty well," is sharing that Mr. Barbour is "is an honorable, decent man" who is "compassionate and treats the people who work for him well." To boot, Mr. Barbour is "one of the smartest people" Cary knows "in politics."

With this critical information on the table Cary argues that Mr. Barbour's last minute pardon of hundreds of individuals, after 8 steady years of neglect of clemency powers "may be" (yes, those were her words) controversial, but "not illegal." [Insert John Phillip Sousa march].

Yes, in addition to arguing that Barbour had "every right to do what he did," Cary says the "uproar" that Barbour is "going through" right now is what causes presidents to give "fewer and fewer pardons."   [Enter standard reference to Alexander Hamilton - who wanted to hang the pardoned participants in the Whiskey Rebellion and Friesis Rebellion - and the Federalist Papers].

Cary emphasizes that she is not a lawyer and does not know the "facts of these cases," but suspects "there's a lot more to the story when it comes to these pardons." She reminds readers of what Barbour has already asserted, that "the vast majority of those whom he pardoned had already served their full sentences, and his pardons were based on the recommendations of the parole board" and guesses:
I'd bet that at least a few of them were convicted under questionable circumstances, and may or may not have had the benefit of DNA evidence when they were originally tried. I'm sure the governor has seen, as the rest of us have, the increasingly unjust nature of our court system these days. 
In conclusion, Haley Barbour has "done nothing wrong."

Our questions for Ms. Cary:

1. If Mr. Barbour is so humane, and the pardon power is so important to him, why did he fail to pardon for 8 solid years?

2. Are you silly enough to think the parole board made all of these recommendation in the final week?

3. How humane is it to sit on a parole board's recommendation, and do nothing, for years?

4. It is wonderful that you think there is "more" to the story, why doesn't Barbour tell it, immediately, in order save the reputation of the pardon power you supposedly admire? Doesn't it say something that only you are satisfied? Is he saving his explanations for a book, or something?

5. Please explain further how you think the last-minute dumping of pardons enriches the reputation of the pardon power and those who wield it?

6. You really are a Packer / Brett Favre fan, aren't you?

See Mary Cary's full editorial here.

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