What has gotten into Republicans? Watching them bow and scrape in the spine-numbing spirit of bipartisanship is like watching a Beltway version of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." The GOP pod people, with their glazed eyes and frozen smiles, are taking over.
Listen to Scott Reed, manager of Sen. Bob Dole's failed presidential campaign in 1996, who told The Washington Post: "There's no better way to close the book on the Clinton chapter than to pardon him and have a fresh new day."
Listen to Michael Vlahos, a former Reagan administration official, who advocated a "full and complete pardon of William Jefferson Clinton" in National Review Online: "No person of goodwill could gainsay this act, for would it not be an act of true compassion? And would it not prove that our new president, after eight bilious years, is dedicated to national 'healing'? Republicans with sober face could call themselves 'the healing party.'"
Listen to Andrew Weis, a former Republican congressional aide, who opined on National Public Radio that a "pardon would be a brilliant political move for president-elect Bush and a healthy one for the nation."
And listen to James Golden, radio talk show host and former Rush Limbaugh staffer, when asked the pardon question by liberal Alan Colmes on FOX News:
Golden: You know, let's -- let's give the new president a chance to set a different tone in Washington, and I -- I honestly believe, Alan, that that's one of the things he sincerely wants to do. And in order to do that, I don't think that the president-elect should have to go back in the past and try to deal with any of the things from the Clinton-Gore scandal.
Colmes: In other words, he shouldn't -- well, you're not answering my question. Should he pardon him or should he not?
Golden: First of all -- first of all, Alan, I think that we ought to take President Clinton at his word. The president said he did nothing wrong, all this is politically motivated. If that's the case, it will be borne out in the court, and our president won't have to get involved.
Golden: I don't think -- I don't think it should come to it. I don't think it should come to it. I think the new president is going to be busy enough setting a new tone in Washington ...
Colmes: All right. James, you're ...
Colmes: I think you're skirting around my question.
Golden: I'm not skirting at all.
Where is Nancy Reagan when you need her? Just say no. N-O. Bush should not pardon Clinton. The healers and handshakers of the GOP argue that it would be an act of "compassionate conservatism" for Bush to pre-emptively pardon Clinton before independent counsel Robert Ray has a chance to decide whether to indict him. But where exactly is the conservatism in short-circuiting the rule of law and abandoning investigative efforts to hold the First Perjurer fully accountable for his felonious actions?
The pro-pardoners say no jury will convict Clinton. So much for being tough on crime. They say that America is sick of the scandal. So much for moral leadership. They say Clinton has been punished enough. So much for equal treatment under the law.
They say a pardon by Bush would send a positive message to Democrats. What about the rest of us? Are we just chopped liver now that the White House has been reclaimed? What about the message a wholesale Clinton pardon would send to our children -- that we must accept lying, obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and mockery of the highest office in the land because opposing it now is too divisive and unpopular?
I watch the hollow-shelled healers on TV declare that it is "time to move on." Where have I heard that before? And from whose mouths? Has the world gone mad? Pod people everywhere. Resistance is futile. There's something growing in my basement. Help! Too late.
Bush. Must. Pardon. Clinton.