President Obama should pardon Hillary Clinton.
I say that not because I have any particular fondness for this corrupt politician. She deserves to be punished for her corruption.
But she lost the presidency. She wanted this so badly that she was willing to do anything to get it. And she lost. That is punishment enough.
We don't need even a justifiable punishment for what she has done because I want to avoid the prospect of every election in a polarized country becoming an opportunity to punish political opponents for political rather than criminal reasons.
To his credit, President Obama refused to embark on prosecutions against the Bush administration for what were political and not criminal reasons. His base was enraged that policy differences were not punished. This is a plus on the ledger for our president.
So while Hillary Clinton deserves to wear orange every day, because she was the Democratic presidential candidate she is different than any other criminal. Her supporters will believe her prosecution is based on politics. This is unfair. But it is also true.
Sadly the price of justice under the circumstances is too high. If Hillary Clinton is charged and convicted on fully justifiable criminal charges, Republicans will be charged for reasons that are only political. We've already seen this done to Republicans at the state level.
We must stop a descent to banana republic stakes which will only make the battle for the White House more dirty than it already is, with Democratic operatives hiring bully boys to incite violence at Trump rallies during the election campaign.
There have been riots and vandalism against Trump, a beating of a Trump supporter, and the non-fatal shooting of an anti-Trump protester (unknown if this was a professional ANSWER scum or just a real protester) by who I assume was a Trump supporter (but that is unknown, too). We do not want this to become routine in American politics. Stop it.
So cut a deal with Hillary Clinton.
She and Bill and Chelsea get a pardon. Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea pledge not to run for any public office anywhere (and that can be a sealed quiet pledge). The Clinton Foundation is shut down for good--with no replacement allowed, let the Clinton's write checks to real charities if they want to save the world--and all the foundation records go to the Justice Department--just in case the Clintons start arguing over what the meaning of the word "is" is. And Donald Trump publicly backs the pardon because we have more vital things to worry about--and at home and abroad, we do.
We get the Clintons out of politics, and by accepting the deal they essentially admit to crimes without a divisive trial to demonstrate what they did.
Then we can truly move on.
PRE-PUBLICATION UPDATE: An article on the issue.
President Obama has an interest in a pardon given that it would tend to shield him from legal problems because he knew of Hillary Clinton's private email and said he was unaware.
And the pardon process would establish just what Clinton did to justify a pardon. That alone is worth the price of admission after all the talk of "nothingburgers" from her supporters.
So do it.
It is offensive to think of the Clinton family getting away with this legally while others will not. But this is a hit I'm willing to take to avoid the criminalization of politics.
Oh, and by all means, Congress should strengthen the penalties and clarity of the intent of laws that Clinton violated to emphasize what she did wrong.