In an absurd op-ed in the New York Times, Seth Lipsky argues that Eric Holder should defend the Marc Rich pardon.
Lipsky’s op-ed never mentions the fact that Denise Rich made significant contributions to Hillary, as well as to Bill Clinton’s presidential library fund and other Democrat causes. Lipsky derides the use of RICO in the prosecution of the case, but never explains why an alleged overreach with RICO means that a tax evader shouldn’t be prosecuted for tax evasion. Rich was charged with evading $48 million in taxes; isn’t that worth prosecuting? Finally, Lipsky seems to find some significance in the fact that he “came to like” Rich in discussions with him about a possible interview. So what?
Lipsky spends a lot of time expounding on the fact that the pardon power is held by the President alone. Well, that may be true — but that doesn’t prevent the citizenry from questioning and criticizing an unwise and/or possibly corrupt use of that power. Lipsky also defends Clinton’s decision not to consult the U.S. Attorney in New York in assessing the pardon application, by saying that the DoJ shouldn’t get to be the judge of its own behavior. That’s a strawman. Nobody is saying that DoJ should have exclusive say over pardons — but DoJ obviously has useful input that should be taken into account. Failing to ask the local U.S. Attorney about a case is reckless.
How can someone expect to make a persuasive case when they fail to address the central arguments of the opposition? The bottom line is that Lipsky likes the pardon, so he’s willing to shunt aside the most compelling arguments against the pardon. And the New York Times, just as it did with Bill Ayers, is willing to allow him to ignore compelling counterarguments.
Remind me again why people consider this to be a great paper?