Rich Galen

Every time I mentioned the name "Marc Rich" on TV this week, Democrats' eyes got real wide, they began quaking like Salem witches, and then formed those little white flecks in the corners of their mouths.

"You Republicans," they seethed, "blame Clinton for everything."

Via Matt Drudge, here's what Bill Clinton, the Patron-Saint-of-Doin'-What-Comes-Naturally, wrote in a NY Times op-ed piece published in February 2001:

"The exercise of executive clemency is inherently controversial. The reason the framers of our Constitution vested this broad power in the Executive Branch was to assure that the president would have the freedom to do what he deemed to be the right thing, regardless of how unpopular a decision might be."

When I reminded my Democratic friends of Clinton's position on "executive clemency" they moved their lips around a good bit like Nero Wolfe and then said, "Well, this is different."

They're right: Clinton pardoned Marc Rich who had fled the country to avoid prosecution. He was pardoned without ever presenting himself stand before the US justice system. President Bush, by commuting a portion of the sentence, left intact the jury's decision.

In his explanation of why he pardoned Marc Rich, President Clinton - in effect - named himself both the decider of fact and the arbiter of punishment.

I suspect the Libby commutation will be over as a matter of public discussion after the Sunday shows have their shot at it.

In the meantime, when your friends on the Left come up to you on Monday in full Selective Outrage mode, don't try to reason with them.

Just smile and nod. It will drive them nuts.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at