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Contentions

Unfortunate Timing

Last week, the New York Post published its top ten political scandals of 2008. It was an interesting list:

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick – (D)
Former New York Goverrnor Eliot Spitzer – (D)
Former Senator John Edwards (D)
Rep. Charles Rangel (D)
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D)
Staten Island Rep. Vito Fossella (R)
Newark Mayor Sharpe James – (D)
David Kernell, son of Tennessee Democrat Mike Kernell (D)
Former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens (R)
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R)
Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey (D)

A few of them struck me as odd, and perhaps misplaced. Kernell was not an elected official, merely the son of one. Palin was accused of misdeeds in the investigator’s summary, but exonerated in the body of the report. And McGreevy’s offenses were committed years ago; any new developments were of a strictly personal nature in regard to his divorce.

A more accurate and comprehensive list would include Representative William “Cold Cash” Jefferson (D-LA); Christopher Ward (National Republican Congressional Committee treasurer accused of embezzling almost $1 million over six years); Representative Rick Renzi (R-AZ, charged with 35 counts of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering); and Birmingham’s Democratic Mayor Larry Langford (arrested by the FBI and charged with 101 counts involving conspriacy, bribery, fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion).

But the real shame is that they published their list on December 7 — two days before Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested by the FBI for corruption of an almost-unprecedented scale. In the Post‘s initial report, 7 of the 10 were Democrats. With the above suggested revisions, and the inclusion of Blago, we’re brought to an ungainly 12. But it breaks down to 8 Democrats and 4 Republicans.

One might explain the preponderance of Democrats as the result of their overall current dominance. But their majority is nowhere near 80%. Or perhaps it is because urban areas are traditionally both more prone to corruption and more hospitable to Democratic politicians. But that’s not exactly an exoneration.

We need to ask our Democratic leadership what’s going on. We could start with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who promised two years ago to end the “culture of corruption,” and bring us “the most ethical Congress in history.” Perhaps we should ask President-Elect Obama, who promised us an open, transparent, honest government.

Somehow, though, I don’t think they’ll be taking our calls.


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