Debra J. Saunders

On foreign policy, the left will have to content itself with Obama talking with Iran -- the left loves talks -- and honoring his pledge to close Guantanamo Bay. Meanwhile, the rest of us will have to cross our fingers and hope the number of released Gitmo inmates who have been killed or captured fighting with terrorists abroad does not climb above the June count of 13. Beware: A Pentagon fact sheet estimated that 7 percent of released Gitmo detainees returned to terrorist activities.

Obama's pick for attorney general -- Eric Holder, formerly of the Clinton Justice Department -- promises to disappoint some on the left and on the right. Holder's role in the 2001 Clinton pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich showed a smarmy side of Obama's would-be top lawman. Yes, recent presidents -- both Bushes, Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford -- have pardoned political allies who broke the law. While it is not pretty, the practice has precedent, and does temper efforts to criminalize politics.

The Rich pardon broke the mold. When Holder issued a "neutral, leaning toward" favorable appraisal of Rich's pardon request, he did so without a full briefing from federal prosecutors, in complete disregard of Rich's fugitive status and despite intelligence reports that Rich had done business with rogue states Iraq and Iran. As Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, told the New York Times, "If a Republican official had engaged in this kind of activity, he would never receive Senate confirmation."

I believe Smith is right.

Debra J. Saunders

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