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Obama Going Easy on Bush? Say It Ain't So

01/29/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

  • Bill Clinton lies about having an affair. Result: he's brought to trial and nearly kicked out of office.
  • Richard Nixon conspires to cover up a break-in at the Democratic National Headquarters. Result: he's forced to resign just before he would have been booted from the presidency.
  • George W. Bush invades a sovereign country while lying to the American people and the United Nations. He breaks the Geneva Conventions, illegally wiretaps American citizens, and commits treason by allowing or encouraging the outing of a CIA agent (among other extra curricular activities). Result: nothing more than shitty approval ratings.

However, if Bush had invaded a female (with her consent) instead of a country, he would've at least lost his job. Right, Gov. Spitzer? If Bush had stolen a $1 candy bar from a convenience store rather than extorting Iraq out of billions of dollars of oil, he might have been sentenced to 16 years in jail as Kenneth Payne was in Texas. Let that be a lesson to Mr. Payne: if you want to avoid serving hard time, shoot for the billions in oil, not the Butterfinger.

  • After having a few drinks, Dick Cheney shoots a man, Harry Whittington, in the face nearly killing him. Result: the victim gives a press conference on the steps of the hospital apologizing for causing his would-be killer so much grief. Cheney will live out the rest of his life in a mansion in an undisclosed location swimming through a pool of gold coins.
  • Plaxico Burress shoots himself in the leg. Result: he is charged with criminal possession of a firearm. He will likely spend time in jail.

The difference between these two incidents seems to be that unlike Harry Whittington, Plaxico Burress was shot by a black man.

  • George W. Bush is an accomplice to the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people (at least). In fact, he gave the order that started the killing. Result (if Barack Obama stops any prosecution of Bush): the former president will live out his days on a ranch in the middle of Texas where he will hopefully finally finish reading the U.S. Constitution. He has told friends that he found the first half very intriguing.
  • In Texas a man named Kenneth Foster drives a car with his friend. His friend gets out the car, gets in a fight, and kills a man. Result: as an accomplice to murder, Foster is scheduled to be put to death. The governor commutes his death sentence just hours before, and Foster will instead spend the rest of his life behind bars

The lesson here is if you're going to be an accomplice to a crime, better it be international war crimes. Perpetrators of war crimes are generally rewarded rather than punished.

  • Martha Stewart is convicted for lying to federal prosecutors about insider trading and stock sales. Result: she spends five months in prison.
  • During the 2000 presidential election Dick Cheney retires from Halliburton with a severance package worth $36 million and declares he will cut financial ties with his former company. Between then and 2004 he receives about $200,000 from them every year. Over the course of the occupation in Iraq, Halliburton receives many no-bid contracts worth billions of dollars. Result: Cheney's stock options in Halliburton increase by around 3,000%.
  • Without any weapons or threats, Ricky Kiser of Virginia goes to a pharmacy and hands the clerk a note demanding methadone, to which he is addicted. Result: a judge sentences him to 120 years in prison.

If only Ricky Kiser had been helplessly addicted to money like Vice President Cheney, he might be a free man right now.

  • The Bush administration permits the use of dogs in interrogation and torture of suspected terrorists. This is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Result: none except that Bush's Scottish terrier Barney occasionally gives him the stink eye.
  • Michael Vick gets convicted of helping to run a dog fighting ring. Result: he's sentenced to 23 months in federal prison.

So if you use dogs to harm dogs, you're sentenced to jail time. If you use dogs to harm humans, you receive no repercussions except a moderate grilling on Meet The Press.