Barack Obama has a way with numbers. During his two terms in office, he not only added more to the national debt than all previous presidents combined. He also set a record for presidential pardons, granting clemency to 231 individuals on a single day, Dec. 19, 2016.
He has expressed enormous pride in having commuted 395 life sentences — an act the White House has justified on the basis that these penalties were by and large for drug-related convictions and that pardons are part of Obama’s “criminal justice system reform.”
But one of his commutations that has received less attention is actually a sticking point even for many liberal media outlets. That is the pardon of Oscar López Rivera, a Chicago community organizer(!) turned FALN terrorist convicted of “seditious conspiracy” in 1981.
Although some on the Left view López Rivera as a political prisoner, about the kindest thing that can be said about him — and was said in a 1980 Chicago Tribune editorial — was that the bombs he placed were aimed at damaging “property rather than persons” and, thus, intended more “to call attention to [the FALN’s] cause … than to shed blood.”
Other liberal publications take a refreshingly candid posture toward López Rivera. Matthew Hennessy of New York’s Daily News wrote on Tuesday that the absence of hard “evidence that he personally killed anyone … could also be plausibly said of Osama bin Laden and Al Capone,” concluding:
Like everyone who plans or participates in the murder of innocent people, Oscar López Rivera belongs in jail. For the sake of the FALN’s victims, President Obama should not pardon him.
Unfortunately that is now a done deal.