Quick, grab the smelling salts and clear the fainting couches.
President Trump's pardon of conservative author Dinesh D'Souza last week violently triggered Beltway media elites. It's peanut butter, weed pollen, gluten, manspreading, Chick-fil-A, the national anthem, and Kryptonite all rolled into one giant political allergen. Allow me to administer the rhetorical, metaphorical antihistamine.
To The Washington Post editorial board, President Trump's use of the pardon is "another show of disrespect for the justice system." Outspoken D'Souza was the subject of a highly politicized prosecution by former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (now an anti-Trump resistance leader) over campaign finance violations totaling $20,000. The WaPo punditocracy grudgingly admits that the president "has constitutional power to do this" and that it is "Mr. Trump's prerogative" to pardon individuals the newspaper considers "unsavory."
Yet, the editorialists fulminate that what "is offensive here is not the pardon power, but the use of it" for "arbitrary, political and unjustified" reasons.
G-U-Double F-Awww. The protesting Posties wouldn't be capable of acknowledging an acceptable exercise of the pardon power by Trump if it body-slammed them off the ropes on UFC Fight Night.
Former Navy sailor Kristian Saucier received a Trump pardon after serving a year in prison for taking photos on his submarine to show his family where he worked (in contrast to the hands-off treatment of the classified information-breaching Clinton brigade). Too political, the pundits cry.
The late boxer Jack Johnson, America's first black heavyweight champion, received a Trump pardon after being jailed under Jim Crow for traveling with a white woman (who later became his wife) across state lines. Publicity stunt, the bitchers bitched. Not enough, the moaners moaned. Trump's still a racist, the grievance-mongers mongered.
Indeed, The Washington Post opinion writers have depleted their Bank of Selective Outrage accounts while spewing about Trump's pardons. "Nothing but right-wing trolling," harumphed Paul Waldman. "Twisted brand of mercy," decried Ruth Marcus. "A warm-up for a constitutional crisis," squawked Jennifer Rubin.
Spare us all the hot air, media heavers. Democrats have long wielded pardon powers to reward deep-pocketed cronies, absolve unrepentant domestic terrorists and lionize national security leakers. The "democratic values" that WaPo-lemicists claim are now under siege thanks to Trump's pardons got crushed under the wheels of the corruptocrat bus a long, long time ago.
Self-dealing Bill Clinton handed out pardons and commutations like Pez candy to relatives like half-brother Roger Clinton (convicted of cocaine possession) and family-tied associates like his brother-in-law Hugh Rodham's clients, including convicted cocaine distributor Carlos Vignali and convicted herbal supplement fraudster and perjurer A. Glenn Braswell; the two felons had forked over $400,000 to Rodham in legal fees to win their clemencies.
Hillary's other brother, Tony, raked in more than $240,000 from a couple convicted of bank fraud, who he just happened to mention to his brother-in-law in the White House, who granted the pardon -- after which brother Tony denied being paid for any work having to do with a pardon. Meanwhile, Madame HRC's Senate campaign treasurer, William J. Cunningham III, pocketed $4,000 to prepare clemency for two Arkansas-based convicted tax cheats, Robert Fain and James Manning. President Clinton granted both; Hillary played dumb and feigned shock, shock that political favor-trading was going on in Clinton land.
And don't even get me started on the putrid Marc and Denise Rich pardon scandal, overseen by Clinton/Obama alum Eric Holder.
If systemic pay-for-play pardons aren't a "twisted brand of mercy," what else are?
Critics assail President Trump for "bypassing the traditional review process," which 1) is his prerogative; 2) was standard operating procedure during the Clinton years; and 3) has been questioned by watchdogs on all sides of the ideological aisle because of the inherent conflict in the federal pardon lawyer's office being overseen by federal government prosecutors reluctant to undo any convictions.
No one did more damage to the integrity of the federal pardon attorney's office than Eric Holder, who pressured its staff to abandon its full-scale opposition to Clinton's clemency for 16 members of the deadly FALN Puerto Rican terrorist group and Los Macheteros. The office tossed its original report rejecting clemency at Holder's behest and replaced it with a new and improved "neutral" memo giving Clinton cover to grant the pardons without contradicting the "traditional review process," to borrow a phrase.
These Clinton/Holder beneficiaries were linked by the FBI to more than 130 bombings and six murders. Nearly two decades later, Holder was at the DOJ helm as attorney general when President Obama commuted the sentence of another seditious FALN terrorist, Oscar Lopez Rivera, who proudly declared to a federal judge, "I am an enemy of the United States government."
"Unsavory" is in the eye of the beholder. So is the "arbitrary" use of the presidential pardon. Will the resistance ever acknowledge a legitimate use of this power by President Trump?
Quoth the raving ravers: Never. Never. And never more.