The Presidential pardon (think Marc Rich) is an anachronism, a legacy of royalty.
The pardon system allows Bush to run illegal operations, and to guarantee protection to his minions. It incents Bush to run the clock until pardon time.
Bush's latest clock running gambit is to freeze the Office of Legal Counsel until the end of his term (emphases mine) ...
... In a lower job in that office, Mr. Bradbury signed off on two secret legal memos authorizing torture in American detention camps. The first approved waterboarding, among other things. When Congress outlawed waterboarding, the other memo assured Mr. Bush that he could ignore the law.
Mr. Bradbury is widely viewed on both sides of the aisle as such a toxic choice that he will never be confirmed. The Senate has already refused to do so twice...
...The head of the Office of Legal Counsel is one of the most important jobs in the Justice Department, charged with telling the executive branch whether it is acting legally. His advice is supposed to be based on the law, not the party line.
Mr. Bradbury, however, continues to defend his cynical memos, and the odious practices they blessed. In a Senate hearing, he tried to justify the way the Central Intelligence Agency does waterboarding by comparing it with the Japanese military’s World War II practice of forcing prisoners to drink huge amounts of water and then jumping on their stomachs.
Human rights experts say the Bush and Bradbury-approved method of waterboarding — strapping down a prisoner under gushing water to make him fear drowning — puts the United States in the company of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the French in Algeria and the security services of the Burmese dictatorship. There is certainly no comfort in that.
When Mr. Bush refused to withdraw the Bradbury nomination, the Senate’s Democratic leaders decided to stop processing other controversial nominations. Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, twice offered to resume confirmations and compromise on candidates if Mr. Bush withdrew Mr. Bradbury — and forwarded the names of six Democrats chosen for bipartisan panels like the Federal Election Commission. The White House refused, and Mr. Reid took to keeping the Senate in pro forma sessions during vacations to prevent Mr. Bush from making a recess appointment of Mr. Bradbury and other objectionable choices.
At this point, according to a review by Politico.com, the election commission, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board and the National Labor Relations Board do not have enough members to do their jobs. Scores of federal judgeships are vacant. The Council of Economic Advisers is down to one adviser...
This is brilliant, in a perfectly evil way. Bush needs to disable the Office of Legal Counsel, and by nominating a toxic figure he's done that. At the same time he's disabled a bunch of government services he'd prefer to eliminate forever: "the election commission, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board and the National Labor Relations Board".
The appropriate response to this behavior would be to impeach Bush, but that would put Cheney in power. There's not enough time or votes to impeach both Cheney and Bush, and any impeachment effort would probably help Bush's latest protege -- John McCain.
Diabolical. Bush and Cheney win, again. He ain't stupid, unfortunately.
So for now we resist as best we can, and work for whoever the Democratic nominee is. If McCain loses, however, we really ought to look at abolishing the presidential pardon. That would require a constitutional amendment, but if a Democratic president proposes the fix then Republican senators might go along ...