THE BLOG
02/03/2011 02:29 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Tom Campbell Pleads for a Pardon for DeLay, But for the Wrong Reasons.

I believe that Tom DeLay is a sleazebag. Tom Campbell believes that Tom DeLay "is not a bad man." But hey, I am a nobody and Campbell is a famous Texas lawyer who was general counsel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the George H.W. Bush administration.

However, what a nobody and what a famous lawyer think of Tom DeLay -- whether he is a sleazebag or "not a bad man" -- has nothing to do with what a jury in Texas thought two months ago when they found DeLay guilty on charges of conspiracy and money laundering or with what a Texas Judge thought when he sentenced DeLay to three years in prison on the conspiracy charge and to 10 years probation on the money laundering charge.

In last week's Washington Post, Campbell pleads with President Obama and Texas Governor Rick Perry to pardon Tom DeLay.

Campbell points out that DeLay "has been punished enough," that he should "be allowed to retire to private life with what he has left."

Yours truly is probably one the most compassionate, forgiving men around -- after all, some call me a bleeding-heart Liberal. While it may be true that DeLay may have been punished enough, it is certainly true that his family has suffered greatly and will suffer even more if and when DeLay is incarcerated.

Because of that -- because of my compassion for DeLay's family and, yes, for the man himself -- I would not be opposed to a pardon.

And if Campbell had based his plea for a pardon strictly on compassionate, humanitarian grounds, his plea, in my humble opinion, would have been so much more effective.

But grounding his plea on the following notions, I feel, only detracts from his case.

That "[p]rison will satisfy the vindictive desires of some but will trigger in others a desire for revenge."

Come on now, this is just as weak and disingenuous an argument for granting DeLay a pardon as is Campbell's other effort to tie "the case for pardoning Tom DeLay" to the Tucson tragedy.

Comparing DeLay's actions and sentence to Charles Rangel's deplorable financial transgressions and to Rangel "only" receiving a censure from his colleagues in the House.

Come on now, if justice was not rendered in the case of Rangel, that is not even remotely related to DeLay's case just as it is in no way related to any of the millions of other criminal cases tried before our courts every year. And politicizing DeLay's case, I do not believe enhances Mr. DeLay's chances for a pardon.

Also,

... what I found in DeLay was a zealot willing to blur the line in pursuit of what he thought to be a good cause, not someone using his office to seek financial gain. There were no personal slush funds, no house remodeled by a lobbyist, no unreported vacation home. He was only trying to build our party.

Come on now, "only" trying to build the GOP through conspiracy and money laundering? I just happen to believe that corrupting the political process, the very foundation of our democracy, is somewhat more serious than amassing personal slush funds, having your house remodeled by a lobbyist or an "unreported vacation home."

But what I find to be the most questionable reasons for attempting to justify a pardon for DeLay are Campbell's allegations that, either "they all do it," or "they -- Democrats -- did it, too": "Partisan foes on both sides have engaged in trench warfare, seeking to achieve their goals by any means necessary," and "His was the mistake made by so many before him: He felt that the ends justified the means."

On one thing, however, Campbell is correct. After claiming that "they all do it," he says: "In an effort to 'save' our country, we have torn the fabric of the very institutions that have preserved our freedom from generation to generation.

He is correct because breaking the law to achieve purely partisan, political objectives is as much connected to "saving" our country as were DeLay's gerrymandering shenanigans favoring the GOP connected to "saving" Texas.

No, if there is "a case for pardoning Tom Delay," it is definitely not because someone else did something worse and got off lighter; it is not because they all do it; it is not because he was trying to "save" America and it is definitely not because -- if we don't grant a pardon -- our country, the United States of America, would be descending to the level of "many countries" where " it is not enough to defeat opponents," where "politics is a blood sport in which you must destroy them if you can."

No, if Mr. DeLay is pardoned, it should be because DeLay may have already been punished enough. It should be for humanitarian reasons. It should be for his family who has definitely suffered enough. Period.