Monday, April 25, 2005

This is corruption

This is one for the textbooks. You will probably never hear a more clear-cut example of, or at least admission of, official corruption than this statement from White House spokesman Trent Duffy: "We wanted people who would represent the Administration positively, and--call us nutty--it seemed like those who wanted to kick this Administration out of town last November would have some difficulty doing that." Here the administration is admitting that its reason for removing some delegates to The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission was that they had given money to Kerry and/or not enough money to Bush.
There is a bright red line in American politics: you do not use the power of the government to reward your supporters or to punish your opponents. Yes, most political appointments go to the appointer's supporters; however, financial support cannot be the reason for the appointment--or the un-appointment. Similarly, a congressman like Tom DeLay can vote against a bill after accepting money and perks from its opponents without it being corruption--provided that the reason he voted against it was not the money and perks. As long as DeLay is smart enough to say that the vote had nothing to do with the payments, it is almost impossible to prove corruption. But if he is stupid enough to make the kind of admission the White House made, then he could face removal from office or even prison.

The President, unless he changed his name to Clinton while I wasn't looking, probably won't.


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