Now, some don’ts:

  • Don’t overrule a U.S. attorney who has declined to seek the death penalty in a particular case. If you are inclined to reverse, spend several hours, not minutes, considering the matter.
  • Don’t demagogue terrorism-related issues. When this year’s Protect America Act comes up for renewal in six months, don’t suggest that administration opponents are aiding and abetting al-Qaida. Raise the level of discourse.
  • Don’t deport the Guant�namo Bay prisoners who wish to remain there. Yes, some men would rather stay in Guant�namo than face deportation to a country where they may well be killed shortly after their arrival.
  • Don’t visit schools for photo ops. Start a trend.
  • Don’t go to a hospital to discuss a policy matter with any patient.
  • Don’t fire any U.S. attorneys. Yes, yes, they work for the president, and he can fire them for any reason or no reason at all. Just don’t do it. No matter what.

Timothy Lynch is director of the Cato Institute’s Project on Criminal Justice.