Where compassion ends and foolishness begins

By Steve Farrell
web posted December 18, 2000

George W. BushOn January 20, 2001, when George W. Bush is sworn in as 43rd President of the United States, two vital legal questions will immediately be put forth to test his metal as Chief Executive Officer of the land, they are:

Will he or will he not extend a pardon to outgoing President William Jefferson Clinton, and will he or will he not pardon the Al Gore political machine for engineering the most obnoxious display of election fraud in American political history?

Granted, there are many reasons why President-elect Bush might choose to make peace with Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore.

Under the guise of being the "compassionate conservative," he might choose to forgive and forget. Under the banner of being the "great unifier," he might choose to avoid "the politics of division." And under the promise of being the "get things done man," he might choose do avoid impediments to such a sacred duty. These merit his attention.

But other rationale, perhaps more compelling, beckon President-Elect Bush to get tough, or at least to get out of the way and allow the law to get tough with suspected felons.

Most importantly, Mr. Bush is soon to be the Chief Executive Officer of the land, and his oath-bound duty is to execute the laws of this land faithfully. He should honor that oath.

If he chooses not to, he insults the rule of law in this country and helps add to the dangerous precedent already set by the Democratic Party, the leftist media cartel, and the Republican controlled Congress of acquiescence to every gross violation of the law imaginable by the Clinton/Gore administration.

Precedents, Mr. Bush should remember, have a momentum of their own. Indeed, the brazenness of Al Gore's team to commit what are defined under Florida statute law as felonies, punishable from anywhere to 5 to 30 years in prison, says something about how Democrats view the opposition "conservative" party.

Part of what it means to be a conservative is to be one who believes in upholding existing law. So what if we don't? Do we not set ourselves and the law up for trouble? Do we not send a message to each and every crumb-bum out there to go ahead and trample on the law because we don't dare rock the boat of our political careers?"

Yes we do.

And that is why, as of this writing, even though Al Gore has "given up," we are not entirely sure that Al Gore has given up. That he is through pulling legal tricks, through using Democratic Party operatives to intimidate state appointed electors, and through attacking the electoral college system as anti-democratic - which is he at this very moment doing in Nevada, my home state.

On December 12, a 17-page lawsuit was filed by Reno lawyer Carter King in US District Court, which seeks a restraining order to prevent Nevada's four electoral voters from casting all their ballots for George W. Bush when they meet December 18 in Carson City. They want a proportional vote.

The suit is an attempt to overthrow existing law, and/or to throw out Nevada's electoral vote if the issue is not resolved expeditiously. Fortunately, at this late date, the suit seems destined to failure. But it reminds us again that existing law and fair play mean nothing to Gore and Co.; and that it will likely continue to mean nothing in the future. We should expect every legal, constitutional, political, and psychological machination that he has employed to continue for years to come.

Jesse Jackson's threats to take to the streets are but more proof. While rumblings that we will see Freedom of Information Act recounts by liberal organizations such as the New York Times, Newsweek, the ACLU, and the NAACP, intent on further discrediting Bush's victory, forewarn us that this is in the eyes of the Democratic Party - is war.

The question is, will Mr. Bush send an open-season message that leaves himself, his party, and all of conservatism naked before a determined enemy, by pardoning Clinton, and by pressuring Florida Republicans to drop election fraud charges, as he already has done in Wisconsin?

This is not advisable. Why not uphold the law, send the felons who committed election crimes scrambling for cover, and hopefully into the slammer, and by so doing gain the political clout he needs, so that those who clamor for yet more recounts will appear as they truly are - political baboons?

It seems clear that being soft on Bill Clinton's crimes effected a serious degeneration of the rule of law in this country, to the degree that this election appears to have taken place in a Banana Republic, not the United States. It seems equally clear that if President-Elect Bush intends on undoing the harm, and restoring dignity to the White House he must begin by insisting that in the United States the rule of law - is the rule of law.

Steve Farrell is a freelance writer, a graduate of the University of New York, and a constitutional law student at George Wythe College. His column appears every Tuesday and Thursday in NewsMax.com. Missed a column? Visit Steve's archive.

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