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The quiet man

It takes an awful lot to overcome Bill Clinton's reticence for the spotlight. More than content to remain in the background, indulging his normal self-effacing nature, it takes a great deal to pull him out of his placid retirement and comment on world affairs. It seems that our 42nd president is a firm believer in the historical tradition of former presidents not trying to hold the limelight once their term of office has passed.

It seems that President Bush's commutation of Lewis "Scooter" Libby's prison sentence was enough to pull him out of his shell.

It's a fascinating read, a real glimpse into his mind (or, possibly, the mind of his staff, but I think he had a great deal with the actual content). And two elements spring to mind.

The first is that his defense of the charges that Marc Rich bought his pardon boils down to "a lot of others wanted to buy pardons, and I didn't pardon them." An interesting theory, but I don't think it holds up well in court.

The second is what Clinton doesn't say. He doesn't discuss Edgar and Vanna Jo Gregory, who won their pardon after hiring Hillary's brother to lobby on their behalf.

He doesn't discuss his pardon of four men from New Square, New York, who had been convicted of setting up a phony Hasidic school to embezzle government grants.

And he doesn't discuss his pardon of 16 Puerto Rican Separatist terrorists, whose movement set off over a hundred bombs and killed about half a dozen Americans and wounded plenty more.

And he certainly doesn't discuss how those pardons might have influenced his wife's 2000 senatorial campaign -- because it would take someone of tremendous political acumen to take into account the possible reaction of the Jewish and Puerto Rican voters of New York to those pardons.

And as we know, Bill Clinton would never take such factors into account when making his choices.

I was glad to see Clinton's piece in the New York Times. It had been far too long since we heard from him, and I was worried about how he was doing.

(update) Dang it, I hate it when the facts get in the way of a good snark. I didn't notice the date on the original piece. Also, as mantis observed, I didn't give it a title. That flaw's been fixed, but the gist of the piece -- Clinton's excuses for his pardons -- remains accurate.


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Comments (22)

Did you notice the date of ... (Below threshold)

Did you notice the date of the story? I can't tell if you are being sarcastic or not, but the story was published on February 18, 2001.

It seems that President ... (Below threshold)

It seems that President Bush's commutation of Lewis "Scooter" Libby's prison sentence was enough to pull him out of his shell

Enough to pull him out of his shell and compel him to travel back in time to write a column, eh?

P.S. Don't forget who secured the Rich pardon, his lawyer for 15+ years.

P.P.S. Nice title

I have to assume he did'nt ... (Below threshold)

I have to assume he did'nt mention Sandy "Pants" Berger either ...

Its hard to imagine a more cynical and hypocritical demonstration of the tin ear of the Clintons and the liberal slant of the NYT.

Heh, I'd pardon anyone for... (Below threshold)
Bill Clinton:

Heh, I'd pardon anyone for a BJ. Sorry, but I have to listen to the other head. It's just too headstrong for me to refuse. Now kiss it!

This is nothing like any of... (Below threshold)

This is nothing like any of the pardons I... I mean, Bill... ever issued!

Understated snark - me like... (Below threshold)

Understated snark - me likee!

"This commutation sends... (Below threshold)

"This commutation sends the clear signal that in this administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice." - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.

May the howls of laughter begin all across the country.

Oooohhhh yesssssss, thaaann... (Below threshold)
Denise Rich:

Oooohhhh yesssssss, thaaannkssss Bill.....oh SHIT, I mean thank you mister President.

I love that he justified Ma... (Below threshold)

I love that he justified Mark Rich's pardon with the good work he has done helping Israel. Imagine if Bush said anything like that! He would be accused of being even more of an evil Zionist! But with Clinton, its apparently cool and noncontroversal.

"I love that he justifie... (Below threshold)

"I love that he justified Mark Rich's pardon with the good work he has done helping Israel. Imagine if Bush said anything like that"i>

Bush doesn't need to do that...he did better by appointing all his war-mongering neocons like Libby, Rumsfeld, Feith Perle, Abrams, Wolfowitz, etc to do Israel's bidding in the Middle East

Ahh, yes... it's all the fa... (Below threshold)

Ahh, yes... it's all the fault of the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil Jooooooooooos!!!!!

Puh-leeze. Take your anti-Semitism back to Kos where it belongs.

notaWizbangPharisee:<... (Below threshold)


Apparently you didn't get subsequent talking point memos. We don't control Israel, they control us. Yeesh, at least try to keep up, will ya?

That's what the Pharisee me... (Below threshold)

That's what the Pharisee meant, Oyster... we're sending neocons to do Israel's bidding.

Of course, neocon is just another term for "eeeeeeeeeeeeevil Joooooooooooos!"

Nazi-style anti-Semitism is alive and well on the American left.

I have no idea why liberals... (Below threshold)

I have no idea why liberals hate the jews so much. Someone want to help? ww

Did not Clinton also pardon... (Below threshold)

Did not Clinton also pardon Henry
Cisneros. Note also that Cisneros
did not do any jail time either.

Correct, Cisneros was in Cl... (Below threshold)

Correct, Cisneros was in Clinton's cabinet and was pardoned by Clinton.

Clinton had to pardon many ... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Clinton had to pardon many as he did not wish them to testify against him. Loyalty to a criminal has its price.

Clinton had to par... (Below threshold)
Clinton had to pardon many as he did not wish them to testify against him. Loyalty to a criminal has its price.

Posted by: Zelsdorf Ragshaft III at July 3, 2007 05:49 PM

Yeah, and having them offed was getting too inconvenient. Too many dead bodies of enemies and too many questions being raised. Pardons were much less bloody and less spectacular.

Besides, if ya kill them, t... (Below threshold)

Besides, if ya kill them, they can't do anything for you. Pardon them and you can hold that over their head for a very long time.

Fascinating that George Bus... (Below threshold)

Fascinating that George Bush Sr.'s full pardon of a convicted terrorist who killed over 70 people, isn't mentioned either.

Why is that?


Oh, here's another great bu... (Below threshold)

Oh, here's another great bunch of quotes for you:

"How can parents instill values and morality in their children? How can educators teach our children? How can the rule of law for every American be applied equally if we have two standards of justice in America - one for the powerful and the other for the rest of us?"

- Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska

"He is not above the law. If an ordinary citizen committed these crimes, he would go to jail."

- Bill Frist, R-PA

"I very much worry that with the evidence that we have seen that grand juries across America are going to start asking questions about what is obstruction of justice, what is perjury...And I don't want there to be any lessening of the standard. Because our system of criminal justice depends on people telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is the lynch pin of our criminal justice system and I don't want it to be faded in any way."

- Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas

"No man is above the law, and no man is below the law...That's the principle that we all hold very dear in this country."

- Tom Delay, former R-Texas, currently awaiting trial.

"Lying under oath strikes at the heart of our system of justice and the rule of law. It does not matter in the least what the perjury is about," - Robert Bork and James Rosen, National Review.

"And we know that when a person testifies under oath that he doesn't remember something when in fact he does, he has committed perjury," - Bill Bennett, Wall Street Journal.

Amazing, ain't it?

Of course, they were all talking about a ***Democrat***.

We all know it doesn't apply if it's a ***Republican*** who gets caught.

Isn't that right?

jim, you actually have the ... (Below threshold)

jim, you actually have the gall to use Tom Delay as an example, who is being prosecuted by a prosecutor who is actually bringing charges based on a post facto law?

Sheesh, that's bold.






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