Will Obama Pardon Cop-Killer Mumia?
An episode out of Bizarro World transpired last weekend at Goddard College in Vermont. Wesley Cook, aka Mumia Abu-Jamal, in jail since 1981 for murdering Philadelphia policeman Daniel Faulkner, delivered a commencement address from prison to 20 graduating students, at their request. Angry objections from the Faulkner family and friends of the slain officer were ignored. Philadelphia police officers observed 30 minutes of silence in honor of their fallen comrade and to protest Goddard’s decision.
By way of justification for inviting Abu-Jumal to speak, the college said this:
Many diverse commencement speakers have been chosen to represent perspectives not normally in our discourse. Even if it is unpopular, we need to listen to and engage in difficult discussions. This is what free speech is all about. Our students understand there is great merit in what Mumia Abu-Jamal has to say. It is important that we at Goddard College support this complicated inquiry and the freedom of speech.
Total nonsense, of course – pretzel logic from the loony left. Recall that Goddard College, founded in 1938, was based on John Dewey’s notion that experience and education must be intricately linked. Dewey would have approved of the invite, claiming that the opinions and experiences of a convicted murderer carry educational value, and not just to students in an auditorium. Keep in mind also that at Goddard one can major in “consciousness studies” and “sexual orientation,” and get a B.A. in “sustainability.” Try putting such rubbish on your CV as you look for a job – except maybe in the Obama administration, where competence is not a requirement, only politics.
I mention “CV” and “Obama administration” in the same sentence for a reason. As I read it, Abu-Jamal’s commencement address is the latest entry in a résumé he has been compiling with one purpose in mind: to convince a president one day to grant him a pardon. Recall that Abu-Jumal was initially sentenced to death but managed, after intense lobbying, to get his sentence commuted to life in prison without parole. Only a presidential pardon can get him out. Obama is his last and only chance.
Furthermore, Obama could use the Abu-Jumal pardon as a sort of one-upmanship should Hillary Clinton be elected in 2016. Recall that on his last day in office, Bill Clinton pardoned indicted businessman Marc Rich, who reportedly had donated more than $1 million to the Democratic Party, including $100,000 to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign and $450,000 to the Clinton Library. Obama would be able to argue moral superiority: he was being charitable where Clinton had been venal. Abu-Jumal, arguably rehabilitated as a published author of world renown, would make valuable contributions to society as a free man – unlike the (alleged) crook Clinton pardoned. The Clintons would squirm at the unflattering comparison but would have to lump it. Score one for Obama.
The revenge factor would come into play if a Republican is elected president in 2016. Obama’s deep animosity toward the GOP, bordering on hatred, is well-known. The president has blamed Republicans for his many failures, at home and abroad, so often that it has become a broken record and something of a joke. The Abu-Jumal pardon would be one last act of defiance and contempt for the GOP by President “Pen-and-Phone.” Besides, Obama wouldn’t need to worry about the judgment of history if he went through with it. The army of sycophants clamoring to compose glowing narratives of his presidency would cover for him with a portrayal of the pardon as – you guessed it – an act of Christian charity by a forgiving president. Score one more for Obama.
I doubt that Congress would do anything to stop this nonsense. Besides, by January 2017, Americans will be so relieved to be rid of Obama that they would shrug off the pardon as another in a long line of affronts against the rule of law – his last, thank God, as president
[Editor's note: A previous draft read "2016" in the last paragraph. The error has been corrected.]