Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Osler on Barbour, Mississippi Politics

Over at Huffington Post, Mark Osler notes with disappointment, that Haley Barbour's controversial last-minute pardons "was not a prominent issue in the Mississippi campaign." This lays the foundation for the scenario where we  "express surprise" the next time "this unilateral power is used."

Says Osler:
... aren't we in part to blame for these surprises, if we never ask how a candidate would use the pardon power during the election cycle? It may well be that the candidates never articulate their views about clemency because we never really ask them to do so. The Barbour pardons should jolt us out of that complacency.

The televised debates which precede primaries and the general election are the best place to raise this issue. My plea to the moderators of those debates would be this: Once, just once, ask the candidates how they would use clemency, that great unchecked power of the executive. In the end, how a candidate would use the pardon power reveals an important aspect of character. We do not hesitate to ask someone seeking the presidency how they would use the terrible force of war; we should be just as bold when asking about the application of mercy. 
See full editorial here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The moderators may not want to know until something goes wrong so they can sell more newspapers and advertising.

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