Martin Long

Martin Long is an entrepreneur and political scientist based in the Boston area. He was born in Chicago, studied Political Science and Computer Science at the University of Illinois, and Russian Politics and History at the London School of Economics. He traveled extensively in Eastern Europe before the fall of the Berlin wall, living in Poland for a time. He traveled extensively in South Africa before the fall of Apartheid. He likes to make sense of incomprehensible situations in the world, and in domestic politics. He has written about the historical context of terrorism. He is currently working on a book about Republican political discourse. He blogs at

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Haley Barbour's Unintentional Lesson: Keep Religion and Governance Separate

by Martin Long 02-10-2012
Gov. Haley Barbour. Image via Wylio

Gov. Haley Barbour. Image via Wylio

Suppose there are two inmates convicted of similar crimes. Both appear to be equally contrite and rehabilitated. One is black, the other white. The white one gets pardoned by the governor, the black one does not. Is this fair? 

What if one was rich, the other poor? If one had political donors for friends, but not the other?  And what if most of those pardoned by this same governor were white, rich, politically connected, or they were convicted of quite violent crimes?

Judging by the reactions to former Governor Haley Barbour's granting pardons or clemency to 200 or so felons on his last day as governor of Mississippi in January 2012, this seem to be the point at which many raise their hands, asking, "what is going on here?" 

To my eyes, Gov. Barbour unfairly (and illegally?) predetermined who was eligible to be pardoned based upon their professing the adoption of his religion.