On the way out the door, presidents have been known to inflict a mountain of damage on the American public with the pardon power. Since President Bush has funneled more garbage into the American political system than just about any president in history, why should we be surprised when he leaves a trail of garbage as he waltzes out the door?
Last week, Mr. Bush pardoned 14 Americans for a variety of crimes. Half of them, according to the Wall Street Journal, shared one characteristic: a love of firearms and a citation of that as the reason why they wanted pardons. Convicted felons regain the right to own weapons (with the exception of certain antique guns) only by presidential pardon.
The most widely publicized pardon recipient (and in my opinion, the most noxious among them) is one Leslie Collier, a Missouri corn and soybean farmer. His crime: poisoning two bald eagles and killing them. The poisoning wasn't purposeful. He meant instead to kill another American icon--coyotes that he feared would kill wild turkeys that had reappeared on property he farms.
Instead of finding some way to build up the wild turkey population on the property he farmed (so he could again drive them into extinction by hunting them down), he decided he would poison the coyotes to eliminate the turkeys' natural predator.
...he laid a trap of ground beef laced with the pesticide Furadan, which, under federal law, may not be used as animal poison. Seven coyotes died after eating the beef. But several other animals fed on their carcasses and died as well, including the bald eagles.
Maybe there's a natural link between Bush's pardons and everything else that is making his presidency and his way of life seem so retro and out of sync with the social sea change that brought President-elect Obama into office. Let's all wave President Bush and his antiquated views a not-so-fond farewell.
-- Click here to read more by Bonnie Erbe.
-- Click here to read more from the Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
-- Click here to read more about guns.
By Bonnie Erbe