More pardons

Departing office last week, George W. Bush declined to issue a series of presidential pardons for convicted felons.  Perhaps he was spooked by the bad taste left over from Bill Clinton’s last-minute flood of pardons in 2001, some of a dubious nature to his friends and campaign contributors.  That won’t be said of president Bush, who issued only half as many pardons as either Ronald Reagan or Clinton, the most recent two-term presidents.  Indeed, on his last day in office, Bush formally rejected several pardon requests from high-profile petitioners. Continue reading

Strong symbols, weak speech

– in Washington, DC – Aretha Franklin singing on the steps of the Capitol would have been enough for me.  For the thousands who endured embarrassingly inadequate crowd control with enthusiasm undampened, just being here was enough.  The sheer number of radiant black faces, grandmothers in their Sunday best with their grandchildren in tow, warmed the heart on a cold morning. Continue reading

It is finished

– in New York – Since the death of Father Richard John Neuhaus last Thursday, and my tribute to him published in the Post the day after, many readers have been kind enough to get in touch with me, passing on their condolences upon the death of my spiritual father and mentor. It has been a tough week, and I shed more tears these past days of his wake, funeral and burial than I have in many years.  I am grateful to all who have been praying for Father Richard’s soul, and the prayers too for those many of us who are mourning him. Continue reading