December 14, 2008

"I am not a crook"

It's interesting that the Blagojevich scandal hit at roughly the same time as the release of the Frost/Nixon movie. I'm not suggesting that there's some conspiracy, because frankly, who cares that much about Hollywood?

But it creates an interesting parallel and an opportunity to stream the discussion in a way that suits Republicans. Nixon, implicated in the Watergate break-ins is of course going to be pilloried in the movie. He did something wrong (or at the very least C.R.E.E.P. did and he was complicit in the cover-up), and his political career and his legacy were unalterably affected. Rightly so.

The parallel with Blagojevich right now is confined only to the governor himself. And perhaps that's as far as the investigation will lead. But the parallel doesn't end there. Conservatives were tainted by the scandal so badly that it allowed a peanut farmer from Georgia to become President in 1976. To this day, I'm sure there are people whose votes were forever changed.

Sadly, people probably expect corruption from politicians. And in Chicago politics it appears to be an acceptable norm. But even that expectation and acceptance has its limits. Seat sales are something meant to be left to the airline industry. And when the vacated seat is still warm from the heat of the president-elect, even liberal media pundits have to repudiate one of their own.

Republican Alaska was able to vote out Senator Stevens as a result of the gift scandal. Is it impossible to expect that Illinois voters would do the right thing and vote Republican in a special election? Well, it's probably unlikely. But with the liberal media dressing down Blagojevich and voter distaste for him quite high even before the scandal, the opportunity exists.

Thee broader picture is that it presents an opening for Republicans to get the scandal meme into play. They could leverage the Frost/Nixon movie to do it. An act of contrition may be the perfect lead in for the subsequent attack. Something along the lines of yes, we grew fat and bloated in Washington, yes we got away from our principles. Yes, some of us were corrupted. But we have learned from the Nixon mistakes. Blagojevich is the latest in a series of Democratic malfeasance from Fannie Mae, to Dodd to the Illinois governor, serial corruption does exist. The arrogance of Blagojevich is demonstrative of the Democrats expectation of their right to be in power. He is not alone except in that he's been discovered. We cannot let complacency in Washington continue and sending the wrong message that this is acceptable (by replacing a Democrat with a Democrat) will ensure the same results down the road.

From their you can draw comparisons to the Big 3 bailout. You can compare it to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac problems. Not learning from these mistakes ensures that they will happen again. What is required is not more money, what is required is shock therapy. In each of these situations, the same logic applies. I forget who said it but the definition of insanity has been described as doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting to get a different outcome.

1 comment:

  1. Hearing the line, "I'm not a crook" thought immediately of Nixon, so sad that so many politicians hold the same or similar statement at the ready. The next one for history will be, I have had no dealings with that person/group. Then show up on YouTube or some other media.


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