If nothing else, this will prove that although I am politically conservative, my country will always go before my political party:
From the Wall Street Journal:
"Sen. Dick Durbin said Monday he was willing to face 'overwhelmingly negative' public outcry and push for former Gov. George Ryan's early release from prison," the Chicago Sun-Times reports:Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said it was "a human motive"--[Ryan's wife] Lura Lynn Ryan's personal pleas to him--that pushed him to ask President Bush to commute Ryan's sentence. Ryan has served one year of his 6½-year sentence.In a letter to the president, Durbin cites the former first lady's "frail health" and her age. Both George Ryan and his wife are 74."Justice is a sword tempered by compassion," Durbin wrote.That immediately raised questions over why Ryan should get a break that other inmates of advanced age have not.
Why indeed? As the Chicago Tribune reported in 2006, in that year Ryan, Illinois's last Republican governor, was "convicted on 16 counts of racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, lying to the FBI, obstruction and tax fraud." It was the result of what a Tribune editorial called "a corruption scandal with a death toll."
On Election Day 1994, four years before being elected governor, Ryan was re-elected as Illinois's secretary of state. The same day, the taillight assembly fell off a truck whose driver was licensed in Illinois and struck Duane and Janet Willis's vehicle on a Wisconsin expressway, puncturing the fuel tank. Six of the Willises' children were burned to death:Ryan would later insist--angrily and often--that the trucker, Ricardo Guzman, had been legally licensed. No problem here in Illinois. In 1998, George Ryan was elected governor of Illinois on the strength of that lie about the Willis case. An internal memo later established that, just eight days after the Willis tragedy, at least four officials in Ryan's office were aware that "there is a strong possibility that this individual obtained his [commercial driver's license] illegally." Elsewhere at least three other people died in crashes involving truckers improperly licensed by Ryan's staff. . . .Bad enough that Ryan's minions sold driver's licenses to bribers--some of that blood money wound up in Ryan's campaign coffers. Bad enough that Ryan gave his pals illicit influence over the conduct of state business--according to prosecutors, the cronies themselves pocketed a combined $4.77 million in sweetheart deals. Bad enough they rewarded Ryan with gifts and favors--some of that lucre went to Ryan's family members, spreading a now indelible stain from the discredited governor to his loved ones.Ryan has claimed all along that he did nothing wrong and that he knew nothing about the crimes of his compatriots. His evident attitude toward his own corrupt acts mirrored the phrase his lawyer frequently used during the trial's closing arguments: "Who cares?"
The Sun-Times reports that Mrs. Ryan told the paper last week that "if her husband had to do it over, 'he would govern the same way as he did before.' "
In that 2006 editorial, the Tribune argued that "Through his actions and inactions, George Ryan essentially destroyed the Republican Party in Illinois." After the beating the GOP has taken for corruption among its ranks on Capitol Hill, for President Bush to end his term by pardoning a corrupt Republican would be not only wrong but foolish.
Besides, if Durbin wants mercy for his disgraced constituent, he will soon be able to request it from his own erstwhile junior Senate colleague.
I can not begin to tell you how disgusted I would be if Bush pardons Ryan. I know he is an old man, but he deserves every single one of his years behind bars and if it were up to me, I would tack on 20 more. This man does not deserve to ever see the light of freedom ever again. Forget what he has has done to the Republican party, but never forget what he ultimately caused while Governor.
I have had serious issues with Dick Durbin for years now. But this surprised me greatly. Maybe he is feeling forgiving now that his party is large and in charge. But this request to President Bush is shameful and must not be considered.