Let's see. There's Leslie Collier and Milton Cordes. I see Richard Culpepper and Andrew Harley and Cary Hice Sr.
Then there's Geneva Hogg and William McCright Jr., Robert Mohon Jr. and Ronald Mohrhoff and a few others.
But in the list of those recently granted pardons and commutations by outgoing President Bush, nowhere is the name of Merle Temple.
You remember Temple, of course. He was one of the co-conspirators in former Columbia County school principal-turned-Georgia-superintendent-of-schools-turned-gubernatorial-candidate Linda Schrenko's scheme to steal federal education funds meant for blind and deaf children and instead used the money to lift her face and her electoral chances.
The facelift evidently made Schrenko more attractive to Temple, who cheated on his wife in a dalliance with Schrenko, who likewise cheated on her husband. But it sure didn't help her with voters, and it didn't help her or Temple in federal court. Both are now serving time in federal prisons.
Shortly after his 2006 conviction, Temple famously penned a long letter to Bush seeking a pardon. That letter spelled out Temple's Republican pedigree and noted his work in the trenches of campaigns, starting in Mississippi with Ronald Reagan.
In essence, the request for a pardon from Bush pronounced that Temple was an unfortunate victim of circumstance. It characterized his and Schrenko's scheme as "a tragedy that emerged from a political fight with people I viewed as the "bad guys."
Thus far, apparently, Bush hasn't deemed Temple one of the "good guys." Unless he decides to renew his push for a pardon with the next president - who, based on Temple's deep and long association with the Republican Party most assuredly would be considered one of "the bad guys" - Temple can count on having another six years or so to finish that life story he's supposed to be writing.
I. Can't. Wait.
Speaking of the ex-superintendent and her ex-boyfriend, it was kind of funny to see that Kathy Cox - Schrenko's successor - donated her winnings from the game show, "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?" to schools for the blind and deaf.
It is somewhat odd that Cox and her husband declared bankruptcy the other day, just weeks after winning and pledging to give away all that money. But it seems the money was funneled through a foundation, and thus isn't available to help rescue Cox from debt even if she wanted to keep it.
Here comes Palin
So, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is scheduled to visit Augusta on Monday, eh?
To quote Sean Connery in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: I'm waiting to be impressed.
It's pretty clear that Palin is a staunch conservative, which is why she was so welcome on John McCain's ticket. But she's coming to our part of the country to campaign for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who has governed as anything but a conservative.
In fact, pretty much the only reason to vote for Chambliss is that he isn't a Democrat, and would not be part of providing a filibuster-proof majority.
By stumping for Saxby, Palin is declaring her allegiance first to party, then to principle - which is precisely the reason Republicans have gone from holding the presidency and both houses of Congress to standing outside peeking in the window as all three go to Democratic hands.
And for no particular reason, let me be among the first to predict that Palin will not be the Republican Party's presidential nominee in 2012. If I turn out to be wrong, come see me in four years.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.)
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