Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bad News, Good News

The usual suspects -- RWS™, Congressional Rs, teabaggers -- are gleeful over the prospects of campaigning against Democrats for any of several trumped-up reasons. The ethical troubles of a couple of them -- Rangel and Waters, in particular -- have them fairly floating on clouds. I'm not defending those purported miscreants, but I'd like to point something out.

When Rs were in charge of Congress, ethics investigations were a sham. Their handling of Tom DeLay was beyond laughable, beyond outrageous, beyond shameful. (Shame, of course, being as rare as reason among those Rs). So whereas it's not especially propitious that there's trouble afoot, it's pretty amazing that such high profile members are bearing the brunt of actual investigation, actual consequences. Just as Nancy Pelosi promised.

The most telling remark uttered by anyone in the wake of the release of the ethics charges against Rangel came from one of his most dedicated right-wing antagonists, Peter Flaherty of the National Center for Policy Analysis. "We're kind of astonished it's gone this far," said Flaherty, whose organization instigated one of the early investigations of the Harlem congressman. "We always believed the allegations against Rangel were serious, but we never thought the Ethics Committee would do anything."

Obviously Flaherty, a lifelong Republican who once headed a lobbying group called Citizens for Reagan, expected that the committee would function much the same way under Democratic leadership as it did under the Republicans. Which specifically would mean playing dead, particularly with respect to any allegations against a committee chair or majority leadership figure. He was wrong.

Back when the Republicans controlled the House, however, their stewardship of ethical standards was a pitiful sham. They set the coverup agenda when they voted in November 2004 to withhold any sanctions against Tom DeLay, then the House majority leader, even if he were to be indicted on a felony count. Naturally they held that vote in secrecy, just after the presidential election, because they represent honesty, transparency and apple pie. (Eventually a surge of public outrage forced them to restore the Democrats' old rule requiring an indicted member to step down.)

Politics and politicians. I doubt it'll ever be a clean companionship. But there is reason to admire the Democrats for making an honest effort at fixing what's broken. It's something Congressional Rs haven't done in a long time, if ever. Just another of many differences. Both sides: a long way from perfect. One side: trying.

1 comment:

  1. 2 Words
    Barney Frank
    OK, I know you've got less memory than that Tandy2000 you still use, and with your hearing loss you don't mind the racket of that infernal dot matrix printer...
    But I still have a hippocampus soooo
    Wasn't Barney Frank involved in a little Scandalous behavior...
    20 FRIGGIN YEARS AGO!!!!!!
    Somethng about a Mail Gigolo operating out of his townhouse...

    Keep throwin those stones Sid, I've got a brick house..



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