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The Suburbanite
  • Charita Goshay: Pardon would be a nice birthday gift

  • Troll all you wish — it’s a mathematical fact that President Barack Obama takes less vacation time than most of his recent predecessors.

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  • Troll all you wish — it’s a mathematical fact that President Barack Obama takes less vacation time than most of his recent predecessors.
    But according to the American Presidency Project, Obama also holds fewer press conferences (20) per year than Bill Clinton (24.13), and both Bushes (34.25 and 26.25, respectively). Ronald Reagan is the worst of the modern presidents, at just 5.75 press conferences per year. The chattiest? Calvin Coolidge, at 72.9 a year.
    When it comes to pardons,
    Obama has been downright stingy. Obama has pardoned just 39 individuals during his 4.3 years in office — the lowest in history.
    You have a 1-in-50 shot of getting a pardon from Obama, who has denied 1,333 requests for clemency according to ProPublica.
    Compare that to Reagan’s record of 1-in-3 and George H.W. Bush’s odds of 1-in-16. Bill Clinton issued one pardon for every eight requests, and George W. Bush pardoned one in 33 people.
    If you’re a minority, the odds of a presidential pardon are even scarcer, no matter who’s president.
    JOINT EFFORT
    Since 2009, a bipartisan group in Congress has taken up the cause of a presidential pardon for the late Jack Johnson.
    Born this date in 1878, America’s first black heavyweight boxing champion embodied everything that Americans of the 1900s feared: He was too black for the whites, too provocative for some blacks; too flashy; too wild; too good at what he did.
    Johnson was excoriated by everyone from Jack London to The Evening Repository. In 1910, on the eve of his “Fight of the Century” against former champ Jim Jeffries, The Repository ran an editorial cartoon depicting Johnson as a savage.
    Unapologetic and even amused by the vitriol, Johnson held the belt from 1908 until 1915. In 1920, he spent a year in prison for violating the Mann Act: taking his white
    fiancée across a state line for “immoral” purposes in 1912.
    Fighting up to age 67 in unregulated bouts, Johnson died at 68 from injuries suffered in a car crash. Defiant to the end, he was speeding away from a North
    Carolina diner that had refused to serve him.
    NEVER TOO LATE
    When pressed, the White House has offered up the flimsy excuse that posthumous pardons are rarely issued.
    So what?
    It’s never too late to right a wrong.
    In 1999, Clinton issued a presidential pardon for 2nd Lt. Henry O. Flipper 59 years after his death. Flipper, who was court-martialed on false accusations of stealing, was West Point’s first black cadet.
    In 2007, Bush awarded Congressional Gold Medals to the surviving Tuskegee Airmen. No one turned it down because it was six decades after the fact.
    Now, we know people who didn’t deserve pardons but got them.
    Page 2 of 2 - For this reason and others, Obama seems extremely loath to be seen as letting convicted felons “off the hook.” We also know the administration is hypersensitive about
    anything that remotely smacks of race, which results in blunders such as the forced resignation of Shirley Sherrod in 2010.
    When asked, the administration frequently punts questions about Johnson’s pardon to the Justice
    Department. How disappointing. Richard Nixon was pardoned even after he nearly destroyed the presidency. Jack Johnson merely tossed caution to the wind.
    Reach Charita at 330-580-8313
    On Twitter: @cgoshayREP