Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Mitt's Excuse for a Position on Pardons
Former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney, has an interesting position on granting pardons. He doesn't grant them. None. At all. Why? Read the following Yahoo News AP wire excerpt if you want to see political laziness and fence straddling:
BOSTON - Decorated Iraq war veteran Anthony Circosta seemed like an ideal candidate for a pardon from then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for his boyhood conviction for a BB gun shooting.
Romney said no — twice — despite the recommendation of the state's Board of Pardons.
At age 13, Circosta was convicted of assault for shooting another boy in the arm with a BB gun, a shot that didn't break the skin. Circosta worked his way through college, joined the Army National Guard and led a platoon of 20 soldiers in Iraq's deadly Sunni triangle.
You mean that shooting someone with a BB gun, but not having broken their skin was worthy of having been prosecuted as assault? Shit, if I'd have known that in 1971 I'd have pressed charges against the little jerkoff who shot me directly in my left eye at a distance of about five (5) feet with a metal-tipped, plastic bullet that was about two inches long. I'm lucky I didn't lose an eye, while some little toad got maybe a red welt on his skin and this poor SOB gets a conviction of assault to follow him around for the rest of his days.
In 2005, as he was serving in Iraq, he sought a pardon to fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer. "I've done everything I can to give back to my state and my community and my country and to get brushed aside is very frustrating," said Circosta, 29, of Agawam, Mass. "I'm not some shlub off the street."
In his presidential bid, Romney often proudly points out that he was the first governor in modern Massachusetts history to deny every request for a pardon or commutation during his four years in office. He says he refused pardons because he didn't want to overturn a jury.
That seems like a very lazy, incurious stance to take. Hell, it also sounds a lot like the Preznit when he was Gubner Executioner. He refused to commute any sentences because he figured that if the accused were convicted then hell, that was good enough for him, so let 'em fry! It is apparent that Romney shares the Preznit's laziness.
But critics argue that the blanket policy is an abdication of a key power given governors and the president — the ability to recognize how someone convicted of a past crime has turned their life around.
During the four years Romney was in office, 100 requests for commutations and 172 requests for pardons were filed in the state. All were denied.
"Governor Romney's view is that it would take a compelling set of circumstances to set aside the punishment and guilt resulting from a criminal trial," said Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom, who added he was not familiar with Circosta's case. "The power to pardon should only be used in extraordinary circumstances."
Typical. Have an aide make a sweeping statement to defend your position, then have that aide claim to know nothing about the situation in question.
While he refused all requests for pardons as governor, Romney has said that could change if he's elected president. Asked in last week's debate if he would consider pardoning Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who was convicted of lying and obstructing the CIA leak investigation, Romney said: "It's worth looking at that. I will study it very closely if I'm lucky enough to be president. And I'd keep that option open."
Nice poker face Mitt! Sounds to me like Mitt's record of consecutive pardon/commution denials is in serious jeopardy should America be stupid enough to elect him Preznit...
Romney approved guidelines for issuing pardons as he took office. Among the threshold requirements was a compelling need for a pardon, such as the need to obtain a firearm, and a demonstration of "good citizenship," defined as a "demonstrated ability to lead responsible and productive life for a significant period after conviction."
The guidelines also state that pardons will rarely be issued for the purpose of obtaining a firearm if the person had been convicted of a crime involving a firearm.
During his first year in office, the Board of Pardons recommended 11 pardons and two commutations. After Romney decided against granting any, the number of hearings dropped dramatically. During the next three years, the board recommended just four pardons and a single commutation. Romney rejected every one.
For Circosta, who works as a project manager for disaster restoration company, Romney's refusal is an ongoing source of frustration. "I understand the political side, but I don't see in any way how it could hurt the campaign," Circosta said. "I'm decorated. I have a Bronze Star. I guess he just didn't want to sign it. It's obviously politically motivated and I don't know why."
I don't know why either. Perhaps Mitt secretly hates the troops, and this is his way of showing it. I think it is more likely that he is, as detailed above, just another lazy, GOP hack who is content to simply enjoy the trappings of office while doing as close to nothing that involves actual work as is possible. Either way, the signs are clear that this is just another reason that Mitt Romney is not qualified to be our next president.