Bush technically has until noon on Tuesday when President-elect Barack Obama is sworn into office to exercise his executive pardon authority, but presidential advisers said no more were forthcoming.Emphasis added. If the pardons and commutations are over that means his administration--and some career officials who served it--will officially be unprotected from the likes of John Conyers and Nancy Pelosi as of 1 PM Tuesday.
Well then, how about some new speculation--will Obama now issue a blanket pardon of Bush officials and those involved with interrogation, whether they want one or not? It might be tempting in this liberally euphoric climate since there may be no better way to taint Bush's legacy than with a magnanimous (but glaringly shallow) post-partisan expression, leaving the impression of guilt forever without a trial to prove it.
The next question is whether the Bushies could formally reject pardons and if so, would they immediately become targets for prosecution after doing so?
No more than idle speculation at this point. Bush could be throwing us a curve and change his mind before leaving tomorrow (although it's doubtful he'll pull a Clinton). The question is whether Obama would risk such a political stunt? He's already made it clear his instincts are to look forward not backward, however a pardon could be worded and spun to fit that narrative quite nicely.
Chances are he'll do nothing while allowing Pelosi and crew to focus on the US Attorney firings, which brings Karl Rove back into the picture, a man who'll no doubt be a pivotal figure in the upcoming 2010 mid terms. There's less blowback (and self-incrimination) and more downline upside to having Rove frogmarched out of his house or in the least, forced to squabble over executive priviledge for months or years on end.