Culture of Corruption? Only if You Are a Democrat
Some days you have to ask yourself, my God, what if these people were Republicans?
Democrats took back Congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008 in no small part because of their ability to bang their spoons on their high chairs about what they called the Republican "culture of corruption." Their choreographed outrage was coordinated with the precision of a North Korean missile launch pageant. And, to be fair, they had a point. The GOP did have its legitimate embarrassments. California Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham and lobbyist Jack Abramoff were fair game, and so was Rep. Mark Foley, the twisted Florida congressman who allegedly wanted male congressional pages cleaned and perfumed and brought to his tent, as it were.
Of course, it wasn't as if Democrats were without sin. Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson was indicted on fraud, bribery and corruption charges in 2007, after an investigation unearthed, among other things, $90,000 in his freezer. Then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was busted in a prostitution scandal.
But that's all yesterday's news. Let's look at the here and now. Barack Obama, who vowed he'd provide a transparent administration staffed with disinterested public servants with the self-restraint of Roman castrati, appointed an admitted tax cheat to run the Treasury Department -- and he's hardly the only one in the administration.
New York Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is under investigation for, among other things, failing to report income from his Caribbean villa. Meanwhile, Sen. Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, got sweetheart deals from subprime lender Countrywide and has yet to adequately explain his too-good-to-be-true deal on his million-dollar "cottage" in Ireland, which he may have gotten in exchange for finagling a pardon (from President Clinton) for a felon. Oh, Dodd also secretly protected those AIG bonuses that raised such a ruckus last month.
Rep. Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania, Nancy Pelosi's moral authority on military matters during the Iraq war, has been revealed as a kleptomaniac of sorts, delivering as much of the federal budget as possible to various cronies and lobbyists.
John Edwards, who had an affair even as he was scoring Oprah-points as the supportive husband during his wife's battle with breast cancer, is being investigated by the feds for the improper use of campaign funds. It looks like the silky haired champion of the little guys may have used their donations to bribe the alleged "baby mama" into silence. And it would be a shame to let it pass that Obama's Senate seat was put up for sale by the then-Democratic governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, and Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is under investigation for trying to buy it.
But you know what? We ain't seen nothing yet. For starters, the real corruption isn't what the media are ignoring or downplaying as isolated incidents. It's what the media are hailing as bold, inspirational leadership. The White House, as a matter of policy, is rewriting legal contracts, picking winners (mostly labor unions and mortgage defaulters) and singling out losers (evil "speculators") while much of the media continue to ponder whether Obama is better than FDR.
If a Republican administration, staffed with cronies from Goldman Sachs and Citibank, was cutting special deals for its political allies, I suspect we'd be hearing fewer FDR analogies and more nouns ending with the suffix "gate."
Democrats, like Nancy Pelosi, harp the talking point of a culture of corruption, but she has protected Representatives William Jefferson and Charles Rangel for their shenanigans, and I do mean protecting them. She was outraged that the FBI searched Mr. Jefferson's office in their investigation, and wrongly cited the protections that those in Congress have under the Constitution. It makes one wonder what Constitution she is familiar with as that protection applies only to those in Congress when they are conducting business of the day. That protection ends the moment the workday is done.
She has tried her best to protect Mr. Rangel from investigating his tax problems. But the kicker comes with Mr. Murtha. Representative Jeff Flake has been doing his best to bring an ethics investigation against him because of all the kickbacks and federal dollars being given to his political allies and lobbyists in Pennsylvania. Fault Mr. Flake for his vigor in this, but do not be upset with him for wanting a level of transparency that the Democrats promised, but have been lax -- and I am being nice with that term -- in delivering on.
The sickening thing about this mess is the media is remiss in it's job to bring this to the public's attention. Unless you are reading the alternative media (read: blogs), you would not know any of this was happening. Mr. Goldberg is quite correct. Were this a Republican administration, the press would be hailing these scandals from the tallest buildings. We watched them do it to Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Foley. They practically crucified Tom DeLay, and yet the prosecutor trying to put him behind bars had to shop his indictment through several Texas courts before he obtained one, and to date Mr. DeLay has yet to have his day in court.
Indeed, where are all the scandal "gates" we were so used to hearing about in previous administrations? Are they now all gone with the election of Barack Obama? Has he healed us of this corruption? Hardly. He simply has a media that is more than willing to turn a blind eye to it, sweep it under the carpet, and pretend that this only happens to Republicans.