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Pardon The Rich
Paul Corrigan
15 March 2001

Republicans and Democrats are never more full of shit then when they are agreeing with each other. Dan Burton is so outraged he is holding congressional hearings. Rudy Giuliani is "shocked by what the president did." Maxine Waters is worried that the Democrats will be "defined by the actions of Bill Clinton as he left office." Barney Frank declared that he was "very angry" and "thought it was very wrong of the president to do." What is bringing these ideological polar opposites together? A president gave an 11th hour pardon to a billionaire white guy whose wife had previously given the president and his party large sums of cash.

Can you imagine a white-male billionaire and his wife spreading money around Washington and getting special privileges? The only shocking thing about this case is that it took Rich 17 years to get his pardon. No, what is really shocking is that the government went after him in the first place. New York should be pleased that it may receive a windfall when Rich settles a $137 million bill for back taxes, that is a bigger windfall than Clinton and the Democrats received from the Riches.

Rich was charged with evading $48 million in taxes and making secret deals with Iran while Iranian fundamentalists were holding American hostages. This guy sounds like a cabinet member from the Reagan-Bush years. If James Baker thought the Republicans could have gotten the American Jewish vote in 1992 by getting into bed with Marc Rich they would have flown Rich back from Switzerland in Air Force One. If Rich were smarter, and had funded the Nicaraguan Contras in the early 1980s, he would be a saint in the Republican Party.

The "full-of-shit" award for most absurd statement in connection with the Rich pardon has to go to Bill Bennett. Bennett, who also blamed Clinton for his brother Bob's screw up in the Paula Jones case, is upset because the boys in America's prisons will now think there is not equal justice under the law. Bennett, our former "Drug Czar" and Secretary of Education, doesn't want the brothers thinking that there is one system of justice for them and another for rich white guys.

Let me get this straight. Our new president raised over a $100 million from the rich during his campaign. He raised this money on a platform to help the rich evade $1.6 trillion in taxes. He is praised for being bipartisan. Clinton gives a pardon to one guy named Rich, an ex-American citizen who has lived in exile for 17 years. Clinton does so after being requested to do so by the Prime Minister of Israel. And, because he does it after being the benefactor of one Rich family's largesse and after taking some knickknacks with him when leaving the White House, he's labeled with racial and class epitaphs, not only by Howie Carr and the tabloids but also by the nations largest liberal news outlets.

Ash Wednesday, Lent, Good Friday and Easter are holy days in the Christian faith. This is not stopping the most pious amongst us from throwing the first, second and third stone at our most public sinner. In 33 A.D. Christian folklore tells us that the masses, given their choice, chose Barabbas over Jesus. In 2001, prompted by weak leaders and a self-important media, the masses here in America are calling for Bush. Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.

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