Cooler heads (we like to think we are among them) have noted that President Obama has been wildly stingy with pardons and his clemency record, overall, has featured no stunts. There are no grants to friends, family members, partisan hacks and donors. Applications have not by-passed the Justice Department. Waiting period guidelines have not been violated. The President himself has said pardons and applications have to go through the vetting process. As he put it in August, he said:
“The process that I put in place is not going to vary depending on how close I get to the election ... So it's going to be reviewed by the pardon attorney, it will be reviewed by my White House counsel, and I'm going to, as best as I can, make these decisions based on the merits, as opposed to political considerations.”Whatever one wants to say about Obama, he has played it straight. And, he has avoided high-profile, controversial cases. While, yes, anything could happen, there is simply nothing on the radar screen that would encourage any reasonable person that the Bill Clinton last-minute craziness will ensue.
Today, Gregory Korte of USA Today tweets:
On a commutation for Blagojevich, Obama tells @CarolMarin: "On some of these high-profile cases, we'll see what gets to my desk."Of course, the language is just Delphic enough to hold up on the flight to Vegas. Does he mean what "gets to" his desk formally? after going through the process? Or does he mean "get to" his desk by whatever pathway there is to his desk?