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Saturday, September 18, 2004

Should Dubya pardon Kerry?

I just read a creative and impassioned legal argument from the Holzer & Holzer team in FrontPageMag.com that effectively pre-empted something I've been intending to research and write about for weeks now.

Given the Navy Department's dismissal on Friday of the Judicial Watch complaint, I think that as a practical matter, there is zero practical chance that Kerry will ever be formally called to account for whatever he may have done, in Paris or elsewhere, as he finished out his Naval Reserve time. 

Still, I'd wager that an overwhelming majority of the public are still entirely unaware of Kerry's meeting(s) with representatives of the North Vietnamese government and Viet Cong in Paris before his famous Fulbright Committee testimony.  And the SwiftVets probably are working on an ad or two about "Tall John in Paris," so the issue's bound to keep coming up.

I therefore have decided to ply my hand at presidential speechwriting:

The President:  I know you're all curious why I've called this press conference.  I will keep this very short, and will take no questions afterwards, and neither will my staff make any comment upon it.

Allegations have been made that my opponent, Sen. John Kerry, may have run afoul of various criminal statutes and/or military regulations in meeting with representatives of the North Vietnamese government and the Viet Cong in Paris prior to Sen. Kerry's 1972 testimony before the Fulbright Committee.  I do not know the details of that meeting or those meetings.  Questions have also been raised about whether his participation as an antiwar activist while still a commissioned officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve may have run afoul of military regulations in one way or another. 

But in my judgment as Chief Executive, and under the power and responsibility granted me in that position by the Constitution, I have determined that it would serve the national interest to put to rest any further consideration of such issues during this critical time in our nation's history.  I have said before, and repeat, that I honor Sen. Kerry's combat service; and I will take on faith, without reservation, that anything he may have done in meeting with the enemies of this country during wartime were well intentioned and undertaken in a sincere belief that they were in the best interests of this country. 

I therefore have signed today a full and unconditional pardon in favor of John Forbes Kerry, absolving him from any potential criminal responsibility for such acts as he may have committed in such meetings, and/or in his capacity as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve. 

I urge all responsible Americans to accept this decision and action on my part as a complete and final closure of the issue, and like Sen. Kerry, I look forward to conducting the remainder of this year's presidential campaign with a forward-looking focus on how we should fight today's war, rather than a backward looking focus on what a presidential candidate may have done during that war more than thirty years ago.  This concludes my statement.  May God continue to bless these United States.

Your reaction, gentle readers?

Posted by Beldar at 05:14 AM in Politics (2006 & earlier), SwiftVets | Permalink


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(1) David Blue made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 5:57:34 AM | Permalink

Great statement.

It won't happen, nor should it. It would be very ill-received. The press is fighting for Kerry, and would pronounce it evil, provocative and inept in all sorts of ways.

Besides, starting with the Republican National Convention and the speech, George W. Bush seems to have settled on a different strategy, one foretold by Scrappleface here. Many a true word is spoken in jest.

August 26, 2004
Bush Campaign Shift: Now, It's a One-Man Race

(2004-08-26) -- President George Bush today announced a major strategy shift in his re-election campaign brought on by what he described as "the failure of my nominal opponent to present a single reason voters should support him."

The Bush-Cheney campaign will now simply ignore John Forbes Kerry, the Democrat candidate and Vietnam veteran who is also a U.S. Senator.

"It's hard to mount an entire campaign against an opponent who has no record, no bedrock values, no consistent positions, no new ideas and only wants to talk about something he hasn't done for 35 years," said Mr. Bush. "So far, the fight has been between me and anti-me...Bush against hate-Bush. From now on, we're looking at a one-man race for the presidency."

Campaign insiders said TV and radio ads will no longer mention the Democrat candidate, but will simply focus on the president's record and his vision for the future.

"I can't change people whose hearts overflow with hatred," said the president. "So I'll just focus on rallying those whose minds are still open. We're going to target what you call your sentient beings."

(2) David Blue made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 6:07:48 AM | Permalink

I should clarify/alter what I said. Yeah, the Republicans disrespect Kerry, except for his hallowed military record. That's standard.

But they're not taking him seriously, they're not doing anything substantial in reaction to him (like stealing policy ideas or whatever - the stuff that can happen in nail-biter elections) because he hasn't earned it. They didn't even have a big name Republican do the Zell Miller speech.

Your statement assumes that Kerry has done something that the President of the United States of America has to make some kind of official, legal response to. I think George W. Bush is running enough of a one-man race that there's no way he'd so something like that.

(3) Larry made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 6:57:13 AM | Permalink

What would the fallout for the President be if there really is no offense to pardon? I see more downside, than upside for the President. Maybe something like misuse of power for a "purely" political reason.

(4) Kathy made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 8:09:14 AM | Permalink

I think if you look very carefully at the wording that was used when Jimmy Carter pardoned all draft dodgers, AWOL, etc., you will find wording that would apply to the likes of Jane Fonda, John F'n Kerry, and all who committed treasonous and traitorous acts. That's one of the reasons that I can think of for the discrepancies in Kerry's separation dates from the military. Also, why he won't release all his military papers.

I'm not a JAG, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express! LOL

(5) Thomas Dinsmore made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 9:11:25 AM | Permalink

Clever, but disingenuous. Something a Democrat might do.

(6) N.Z. Bear made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 9:38:14 AM | Permalink

My reaction is that you're a very bad man. And I like it. :-)


(7) MaDr made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 10:16:34 AM | Permalink

LMAO. The satirical post was cute, but I'm getting a real kick out of the serious response of some of the comments. While you're at it, you might as well write another (Presidential pardon)to cover Rather, Heywood, Mapes, and Howard.

(8) leaddog2 made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 12:18:12 PM | Permalink

Scrappleface is Very, Very Funny! They have A Great idea as well!

Do not BE TOO HASTY on the pardon of Mapes, Rather, etc. They will most likely face other Legal issues as outlined at The American Thinker.

Add it to your MUST READ list!

Are Mary Mapes and Dan Blather criminally liable?

(9) jaed made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 1:29:20 PM | Permalink


But it wouldn't be effective now, because the news that Kerry may have been naughty while he was still a commissioned officer would come as a complete surprise to 99% of the electorate. So the focus would be on Bush.

Now if that period in Kerry's life becomes news, if people are asking questions about who he met with and what was said, if there are mutterings that charges of some kind might be possible... then he could make that speech, and it would turn the mutterings into full-blown investigation. If it's already in the buzz, the focus of such a speech would be on Kerry's actions (and on whether Bush has secret knowledge that they were illegal), rather than on Bush.

But until and unless that happens...

(10) teethgrinder made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 2:36:30 PM | Permalink

re: Carter's amnesty/pardon

nice thought - hmmm, I was wondering about the discharge date, but didn't really know where to start. Here's something I dug up in less than 60 seconds based on your lead:

I haven't even read it, yet, but will . . .

(11) Birkel made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 3:13:34 PM | Permalink

David Blue should relax.

Funny stuff.

If a serious investigation were to occur, as new evidence of the meetings is revealed, then Bush could do himself great credit with an actual pardon (instead of your more facetious one) during Kerry's next Senate campaign, but after the 'Torricelli option' is off the table. That would be the coup de grace.

(12) krakatoa made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 6:00:17 PM | Permalink

I agree completely with David Blue, and would add one thing: that this would be completely out of character for Bush.

One of Bush's major selling points is that he is a known-quantity, and that he is consistent.

This sort of thing would be percieved as overt brinksmanship, and while many of us are comfortable with the rope-a-dope strategy he seems to purposely use, I think many of us would flinch at a shift in strategy to the open use of innuendo reminiscent of Clinton.

(13) krakatoa made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 6:07:49 PM | Permalink

What would be completely in character for Bush would be to pardon Kerry if a formal investigation was started. This allows Bush to maintain the high road and show him to be charitable even to his enemies. No downside to that scenario. But pre-emptively issuing a pardon... ugh... it oozes manipulation.

(14) Leelu made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 6:49:14 PM | Permalink

Sides. Ache. Can't. Breathe.


I believe it was LBJ who said of an opponent, "...get him to deny it."

This would be a king hell of a set up. jfk could spend the next 46 days in denial.

Oh, wait a minute...

(15) Rounguy made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 6:57:40 PM | Permalink

I've yet to see a solid legal reason why John Kerry is exempt from prosecution only because he is a Demorat.

(16) David Blue made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 2:46:56 AM | Permalink

I was in a way-too-serious mood when I read the pardon, and though I saw some nice barbs I didn't get the overall joke, as my first two replies unwittingly attest.

I still stand by what I said though, and also by what krakatoa said. It's going to be John F-for-Forgotten Kerry. He's already dull and done-over, and his final use-by date impends. Jabs miss their mark for that reason. Not as badly as I missed the joke, but still ...

"David Blue should relax." David Blue is currently as relaxed as an azure sky. (smile)

(17) Joe Tinsley made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 4:53:22 AM | Permalink

Would be great to see Hanoi Kerry have to admit Paris and dealings with NVA. As a Vietnam Vet, Condition of Presendial Pardon should be JFKerry never run for political office again. Do not want to waste a Presendial Pardon.

(18) Mixie made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 11:27:44 PM | Permalink

Very funny, Beldar :)

I'm sure President Bush is wise enough though to not actually do this.

(19) Robinhood made the following comment | Sep 20, 2004 12:45:09 PM | Permalink

Pardons by a President diminish his standing in history. There is one way to collapse the Kerry movement.

At the first debate when a question is asked about W's Guard service the President holds up a copy of the SF Form 180 he submitted for the release of his records and states "I authorized the release of all my military records and I ask my opponent to do the same here and now".

"I have brought with me today a completed SF Form 180 that just requires Senator Kerry's signature to execute the action and as a trusted agent of the government I will ensure it's timely transfer to the Navy for their response".

He will either sign or have a stroke and have to be kerried off the stage.

(20) Gary made the following comment | Sep 24, 2004 7:30:34 PM | Permalink

I think it's great!! I would pay $10,000 of my own hard earned, lower taxed money to hear that on CBS

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