When Republicans don’t have control of Congress and the White House, they’re aces at giving speeches about the horrors of government spending. When they’re in charge, they’re even better at doing that spending by the trillions, mostly by giving bucketloads to those who already have billions. It’s fully expected that as soon as Democrats retake the Senate and White House, Republicans will rediscover their horror of the government parting with a dime, but, as it turns out, there’s actually something that can make Republicans climb back onto the austerity train early.
As The San Diego Tribune reports, former Chair of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa put out the call for Donald Trump to grant clemency to his sadly humiliated pal Rep. Duncan Hunter just hours after Hunter pleaded guilty to a bevy of crimes, including misuse of campaign funds. The penalty for Hunter’s laundry list of misdeeds hasn’t even been tallied, but it’s the reason Issa gives for this act of insta-mercy that’s really just the best.
“Are we better off spending $60,000 a year to put him behind bars,” said Issa, “or are we better off with him doing community service and going on with his life with the likelihood of him committing a crime in the future being pretty low?” It’s safe to say that there are a number of nonviolent first-time offenders going to jail in Hunter’s district who are not getting this concern from Issa. But then, Issa isn’t just any observer. He’s not just any Republican ex-representative. He’s a candidate for Hunter’s seat—which makes this request not just convenient, but hugely self-serving.
Still, Duncan Hunter is exactly the sort of guy that Trump loves to pardon. After all, the Marine Corps has a restraining order against Hunter over misusing its name and logo. He’s repeatedly called for giving the Medal of Honor to war criminals. During his campaign, he attacked his Christian opponent as an “Islamist” trying to “infiltrate Congress” because his father was born in Palestine. He called for nuking Iran. Best of all, Hunter inherited his ruby-red House seat from his father. So really … exactly Trump’s kind of guy.
And setting a precedent for pardoning people convicted of campaign finance violations? How could that be a bad thing?