|Obama, No FDR!|
With three years to go, it seems pretty clear that Obama's application pile will surpass that of the Bush administration, which is second only to that of Franklin Roosevelt. In fact, Obama is already 70 percent of the way to beating Roosevelt's mark (of 13,541 applications) and he would only need to average 93 pardon applications per month, to the end of the term, to top it. At the current application rate (an average of about 171 applications per month), the Obama administration would close out with almost 17,000 clemency applications (see our own "Projected Applications" bar in the chart below, on the far right).
Is it at all reasonable for us to calculate and project the numbers in this manner? Yes, it is, for two sound reasons 1) If anything, the number of clemency applications tends to increase as the end of an administration approaches 2) If the President shows any interest whatsoever in utilizing the pardon power, his doing so could very well, in and of itself, cause an additional surge in applications. To date, he simply has shown precious little interest/concern.
Topping Franklin Roosevelt's four-term clemency application numbers will be an extraordinary thing. No doubt about that. But walking away from the White House as the most merciless president in American history will be ... even more extraordinary. Obama may very well top Roosevelt's 13,541 clemency applications. But, here are some sobering thoughts:
- Will Obama also top Roosevelt's 2,819 pardons?
(To date, he has granted a mere 39)
- Will Obama also top Roosevelt's 488 commutations of sentence?
(To date, he has granted only 1)
- Will Obama even come close to either one of those marks? *
Sadly, very sadly, at present, there is little reason to expect the legacy of the Obama administration to be much of anything like FDR's, at least when it comes to mercy, second chances, hope and change.
|Click on image (above) to enlarge.|