‘Tis the season for plotting presidential pardons, apparently. There’s just one problem, though: Ninety-nine percent of the names being tossed around as potential candidates to be pardoned aren’t even remotely pardon-worthy. At all.
But some Democrats aren’t letting that little factoid get in the way of their defense for the indefensible: a former governor who tried and failed miserably to sell Barack Obama’s vacated state senate seat after the 2008 presidential election.
That’s right: At least two prominent Democrats on Monday were backing up the president’s call to pardon Rod Blagojevich, the Republican former governor of Illinois who has about six years left on his 14-year federal prison sentence for political corruption.
Eric Holder, Obama’s good friend and confidante, has made no secret of his White House ambitions, so no doubt that factored into him figuratively reaching across the aisle. But why any Democrat, let alone a former U.S. attorney general, would want to see Blagojevich pardoned but not mention in the same breath other inmates more deserving of being released early is confounding, to put it mildly. Another word is counterproductive.
But even more confusing is that Holder was supporting a presidential pardon that was being considered by Donald Trump, who just Monday morning tweeted that he would also pardon himself, too. You know, in case he was guilty of anything, which, of course, he swore he was not.
If Democrats wanted to shore up their support among Black people – a demographic that has historically voted for them but has begun to second-guess that support – they might want to consider backing the efforts to get the following folks pardoned first.
- Alice Marie Johnson: Kim Kardashian, of all people, has taken up the cause of this 62-year-old grandmother who has been in jail for more than 20 years while service a life sentence without parole for a first-time non-violent drug offense. Here’s everything you need to know about her.
- Kwame Kilpatrick: The former Detroit mayor, who was convicted in 2013 on charges of corruption that were similar in nature to Blagojevich, has been serving a 28-year prison sentence. Amazingly, Democrats have not lobbied for pardoning their fellow party member.
- Ray Nagin: The former New Orleans mayor has been serving a 10-year prison sentence for corruption. Still, no Democrats seeking his pardon. Sound familiar?
- Chaka Fattah: The former longtime congressman from Pennsylvania started his 10-year-sentence last year for … yep, you guess it, corruption. None of his former colleagues of fellow Democrats were seeking a pardon for him. Noticing a pattern here?
- William J. Jefferson: The former Louisiana state representative was recently released from prison after serving a little more than five years for, that’s right, corruption. Most of the charges were thrown out after he started his 13-year bid in 2012. Despite that, Democrats have not sought his pardon.
After the 2016 election, who would have thought that Democrats, who have been lobbying for prison reform, would turn out to be Republicans’ biggest ally on such a contentious issue?