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The Culture of Cluelessness

Now it’s the New York Times’ turn to call for Roland Burris to resign. (Still, you have to hand it to the Gray Lady’s editors for ignoring the cause of the mess — the Democrats’ refusal to hold a special election.)

It is getting harder and harder, even for those cheerleading the new administration and the new epoch of Democratic rule, to ignore the obvious: this is one corrupt party. The problem  is not isolated or casual, but pervasive at its highest levels.

The AP has a devastating critique today, declaring the Democrats to be “self-destructing over ethics” and proceeding to list the usual ethically-challenged suspects: Blago, Burris, Tom Daschle, Tim Geithner, Nancy Killefer, Bill Richardson, Jack Murtha, Charlie Rangel, and William Lynn. (It omits Chris Dodd and James Moran.) The AP reminds the Democrats of the Republicans’ travails in 2006:

Republicans were further harmed when it was disclosed that several of their members were aware of the problem and failed to take action.Democrats, who’ve been in control of both Congress and the White House less than two months now, are lucky on one point. The next congressional election is nearly two years away.

Well, time could be on their side, provided they do something about these miscreants. But if they don’t, and if other scandals arise, or the existing scandals get worse, the problem will worsen and the distraction will intensify. That brings us to their next big problem: the stimulus itself is a scandal in the making.

Republicans have figured out that it will likely be a never-ending tale of waste, fraud, and abuse and are setting up a “stimulus-watch program” to track the money. You have to love the closing lines of this report, describing the difficulties Obama will face in making sure the money is spent in a “timely, targeted and transparent manner”:

His oversight efforts are off to a slow start elsewhere, however. The stimulus spending is to be monitored by an oversight board of high-ranking officials and chaired by the newly created post of chief performance officer. Obama is trying to fill the job after his first choice, Nancy Killefer, withdrew because of tax problems.

Call it corruption, or call it arrogance. But the Democrats are apparently banking on the fact that the public won’t see or won’t care about the ethical free-for-all and the fraud and abuse (which are sure to follow a exponential increase in the size of government). Perhaps they are right, but in a 24/7 news world with hundreds of watchdogs and bloggers I think they are deluding themselves if they think no one will notice.


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