On this quiet Saturday of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, there really isn’t much by way of California political news in the main stream media. So if you are looking for something productive to do with your sleepy day, here is something to occupy about two minutes of your time, and you will have done your conscience, and your country a favor.
There are lots of stories in the news about potential Presidential pardons — it’s that time of the cycle when a lame-duck President is leaving office and is considering requests from hundreds, if not thousands of convicted felons.
Believe it or not, one of those requesting a pardon from the President is notorious ex-Congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham. You may remember him. This was the elected Member of Congress who used his office to literally "sell" America. He was brazen enough to use his seniority in Congress to direct federal pork spending to buyers for the right price. He famously even wrote up a cafeteria plan of federal spending that he could direct, and how much money he would need personally to provide it.
The criminal justice system caught up with Cunningham, however, and after a high-profile trial in San Diego, the ex-Congressmen is part-way through a federal prison term.
I have no idea why Cunningham, who’s crime was so bad so as to probably merit life behind bars, would feel that he is deserving of a pardon — or even a commutation of his sentence.
I know that he has apologized, and that he has paid quite a bit of restitution financially… But what message does it send to others in the country thinking of committing this kind of violation of the public trust if a President, with the stroke of a pen, frees him before his court-ordered sentence is complete? The wrong message, I submit.
Look, I have (finally) found it in my heart to forgive Cunningham for what he has done. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a price to be paid for his crimes. Cunningham should withdraw his request from the President’s desk.
That said, there is something YOU can do about it — drop an e-mail to President Bush by clicking here. Be sure to include your name and address before you push send.
You might also consider penning a Letter to the Editor of your local paper opposing any pardon or commutation for Cunningham.
Care to read comments, or make your own about today’s Daily Commentary?
Just click here to go to the FR Weblog, where this Commentary has its own blog post, and where you can read and make comments.