"Presidents have traditionally started granting commutations and pardons relatively early in their presidency, and they did it on a fairly regular basis throughout the course of their [time in office] ... So there wasn't any pressure to do a huge number at the end because they already had a record of doing it all along. That's a much more rational way to do this."More rational, of course, than the way Obama has done / is doing it. Obama waited over 600 days before the first clemency grant of his administration and his first term was the least merciful term since the first of George Washington. Now, Obama is engaged in the greatest 4th years surge of any president in history.
Morison notes last-minute clemency "creates a cloud of uncertainty," encouraging the public to wonder / speculate about whether or not "something corrupt" is going on. Last-minute pardoning "feeds the perception" that "special connections" are part of the mix.
You get the idea. Morison has mixed feelings about all of the "history" making and "record breaking" in the Obama administration. He notes that, while Obama may very well have granted as many commutations as the last 12 presidents combined, he has also denied about as many as the last 12 as well.
Furthermore, says Morison:
"If you compare the number of grants he's made to the actual prison population, it actually isn't historic ... Today, the federal prison population is about 200,000, so if Obama was going to equal what his predecessors did a 100 years ago, I would argue that he would have had to have granted about 2,000 commutations a year throughout the course of his presidency."Obama hasn't exactly done that. See full story here.