They always surprise you, don’t they? The Senate considers the nomination of Eric Holder. Sen. Arlen Specter lays out the detailed case: repeated instances of poor judgment, lack of candor before Congress, breach of Justice Department and ethical guidelines and a failure to resist political pressure. Holder doesn’t really clear up any of these issues. But he does apologize, sort of. (But not for the pardon of the 16 FALN terrorists.) The Democrats muscle through the nomination, resisting and denying requests for relevant information. No problem. Holder sails through with Specter voting in favor by a 75-21 vote.
Tim Geithner never sufficiently explains his tax errors other than to apologize. He denies using the statute of limitations to his advantage, yet the facts show he never paid up in full until he was made to. Oh, never mind. He sails through with only 34 nays.
Tom Daschle racks up a repulsive record of tax avoidance and feeding at the trough of the special interests he will oversee. Among the tidbits — he earns $2.1M from some private equity fund which throws in a car and driver he never reported as income. It was, he thought, a gift. (A gift??) As one keen observer put it, he monitized his senate career in two short years to the tune of over $5M. He apologizes. And the Senate seems to be marching right along. Yawn once again.
At some point the average voter looks at this and wonders: have they no shame? (For goodness sakes, even the New York Times editors can see that Daschle ought to step aside.) The answer we learn over and over again is simply: no. They live in a parallel universe, untouched by the same rules which apply to the little people and with a code of ethics that places senatorial privilege above fidelity to the law — and career advancement above all.
Meanwhile, Michael Steele was just elected to the RNC promising to show he “gets it.'” How about taking on all of this in a nonstop and unrelenting media campaign? Oh, wait, part of the problem is a batch of the Republican Senators. Indeed it is. Well, Steele has a a chance to turn up the heat and remind them there is a world outside the Senate cloakroom. And it’s filled with disgusted voters.