The chances of President Bush granting Tom Finneran a pardon strike me as so remote that it’s hardly worth getting into why it’s a bad idea (among other things, it would require Bush to waive the usual rule that five years must have elapsed since the conviction). The only thing worthy of comment is this: what on earth was Mike Dukakis thinking when he signed the letter urging the pardon? Honestly, this kind of nonsense (excerpted from the letter signed by Dukakis, along with former Govs Weld, Cellucci, and Swift), is beyond belief:
“And he has suffered daily taunts and ridicule of those who believe that every elected official is the equivalent of a common thief,” the governors told the president in their letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Globe.
Memo to Finneran, the honorable ex-Governors, and anyone else who worries about the fact that some people “believe that every elected official is the equivalent of a common thief”: the elected officials who commit crimes, like Tom Finneran, play a big role in causing that problem. So the fact that Finneran’s conviction has led to public ridicule is not remotely an argument in favor of a pardon. In fact, it’s an argument against a pardon, since the only way to counter the problem of public disrespect for elected officials is to ensure that, when public officials do commit crimes, they are punished for them without special treatment. And if a presidential pardon isn’t special treatment, I don’t know what is.
In any event, does anyone really think that a pardon is going to stop Howie Carr and the rest of the talk radio crowd from making fun of Finneran? If anything, it will turn up the volume.