The new year has only just started, but the Washington Post already has a candidate for lamest editorial of 2008. It’s this one, complaining that President Bush hasn’t granted enough pardons. The Post notes that since taking office, Bush has granted 142 of them. That’s about the same rate as his father, but many fewer than Presidents Reagan and Clinton. However, the Post fails to provide any analysis suggesting that the Bush rate is less appropriate than the Reagan-Clinton rate.
But this lack of analysis is merely par for the course. What makes the Post’s editorial stand out is this passage:
It is curious that a president as enthusiastic as Mr. Bush is about flaunting his presidential powers in affairs both domestic and foreign refuses to use one of the most noble to recalibrate the machinery of justice when it dispenses punishment that does not fit the crime.
Actually, Bush has not been particularly enthusiastic about using his powers in domestic affairs. For example, to the dismay of conservatives, he has failed to use the veto power very often. Nor, absent a warped perspective, is there anything curious about the fact that Bush would use his presidential power aggressively to protect the nation from attacks by terrorists while being less than eager to pardon criminals.