Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 6, 2009
POLITICS: The Democrats Play To Type

PhotobucketI argued during the general election campaign that the single most scandalously under-covered story of the campaign was Barack Obama's thorough immersion in machine politics in Chicago. And I confidently predicted, on November 3, that Obama, if elected, would continue to be haunted in office by those and other ties to his Chicago past. But even I didn't imagine that the continuing saga of Chicago political corruption and Obama's role as a willing tool of machine politicians would explode so quickly that the Governor of Illinois would be arrested for trying to sell Obama's Senate seat just five weeks after Election Day. Now, we have Bill Richardson withdrawing from his appointment as Obama's Secretary of Commerce due to a federal grand jury investigation of pay-to-play practices in his administration in New Mexico. Of course, while the exact nature and timing of the Blagojevich and Richardson scandals came as a surprise, it was inevitable that the foul odor of political corruption - and not just from Chicago - was going to settle over Democrat-controlled Washington. It would have been shocking if it didn't. Anyone who believed that the election of Obama would mean even the slightest bit of "new politics" was a fool of the highest order; Obama's constant harping on that theme, given his longstanding willingness to avoid rocking the boat in Chicago and DC, was simply a cynical fraud.

In Blagojevich's case, the first instinct of various Democrats has been to argue that this has nothing whatsoever to do with Obama. Other than, among other things, the fact that Obama endorsed Blago for re-election in 2006, knowing full well that Blagojevich was up to his eyeballs in corruption probes (go watch Blagojevich's opponent's final commercial from that campaign, to say nothing of the extent to which those probes focused on Obama's and Blago's mutual close patron Tony Rezko, eventually convicted of corrupting the Blagojevich Administration); while Illinois' Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan, among others, declined to endorse Blago at that point, Obama assured the voters that "We've got a governor in Rod Blagojevich who has delivered consistently on behalf of the people of Illinois" and told the press that "If the governor asks me to work on his behalf, I'll be happy to do it." Then there's the fact that it was Obama's own Senate seat for sale, or that one of the apparent prospective buyers was Jesse Jackson Jr., recently seen as the national co-chair of Obama's campaign. Or that Obama political guru David Axelrod, who got himself in hot water by admitting to contacts between Obama and Blago, is a former adviser to Blagojevich and Rahm Emanuel as well as Mayor Daley's spokesman on corruption issues (a busy job if ever there was one). Or that Emanuel, Obama's very first staff hire and himself Mayor Daley's former chief fundraiser, was in close contact with Blago and had taken over Blago's House seat in 2002 with the help of Blago's other main patron (at the time), his powerful father-in-law Alderman Dick Mell (Rahm apparently inherited a good bit of Blago's Congressional staff) and was talking to Blago about arranging another transfer of their House seat to a stooge who would keep it warm (note: this was the seat vacated by Dan Rostenkowski's federal conviction). Meanwhile, Obama had been pressing initially to give the Senate seat to Valerie Jarrett, another Rezko-linked housing developer who got Michelle Obama her first political job working for Mayor Daley.

Blago and Obama, December 2008The more you spin this stuff out, the more you are forcefully reminded that what was most of all missing from the media's pre-election reportage was context, the kind of context that makes the disparate threads of this stuff hang together. (See this Michael Barone column for an example of how that works). Look at this NY Times article on Chicago's dolorous history of political corruption and ask why it could not have run before the election.

Take one of my favorite examples, Obama's run for Congress in 2000. Follow the chronology (more here and here):

1999: Congressman Bobby Rush challenges Mayor Daley in a primary. Daley's great fear is a candidate who will unify the African-American vote; Rush, who is black, fails to defeat Daley.

2000: Obama retaliates against Rush by running against Rush in a primary for his seat. Obama loses, and is saddled with large campaign debts after having put surplus campaign expenses on his personal credit card.

2001: Obama, a sitting State Senator with a background as a "civil rights litigator", gets $8,000 a month to provide unspecified legal advice to Robert Blackwell, a Chicago entrepeneur - more than Obama's State Senate salary and 81% of Obama's income from his law practice. Campaign debts get paid off.

2002-04: Obama helps steer $320,000 in earmarked state grants to Blackwell's company to subsidize ping-pong tournaments.

If you pull together these facts - and I didn't see a single mainstream media outlet put them all in one place the whole campaign - they present a pretty clear picture of Obama as a cog doing the bidding of the Daley machine, being paid back for his duty and then paying off the backer with public money: old-school Chicago politics that fit in neatly with the similar stories that play out over and over in the careers of Daley, Blagojevich and other Obama allies like Emil Jones. And when you have the context, the actions of Obama and Emanuel over the years regarding Blagojevich are not so easily explained away. Illinois has a corrupt governor, and now possibly a Senator selected by that governor, in part because men like Obama saw nothing wrong with keeping one, as well as because Illinois Democrats refused to strip Blagojevich of his appointment power even after his arrest. Harry Reid's hilarious effort to avoid seating the man Blago finally chose may be incompetent or simply a charade, but in neither case does it excuse how we came to this pass.

Perhaps the most ridiculous effort to distance liberalism and the Democrats from Blagojevich was penned a few weeks ago by Thomas Frank for the Wall Street Journal. Frank's column is perhaps the most egregious example of partisan hackery I have seen in recent years, and that's a field that includes powerful competition; it's the kind of column filled with things that make you think 'I know why he would say that, I just don't know why anyone would believe it.'

First, Frank argued that Blagojevich isn't really a liberal. The same Blago who jacked up the Illinois minimum wage, making it the highest in the nation. The same Blago who in 2007 proposed a $7.6 billion tax hike package, the largest in Illinois history, to pay for increased education, healthcare and pension spending during a state financial crisis. Blago's tax hike proposal was so far left it caused an open rift with Mayor Daley, who blasted it as business-unfriendly, and was essentially unanimously rejected by Illinois' Democrat-controlled legislature. He's also the same Blagojevich who was involved in a very public and successful shakedown of a major national bank just the day before he was arrested (see here and here), with what sounded (when translated out of typically gaseous Obama-ese) like the tacit support of Obama. Blagojevich may not be far enough left for Thomas Frank's taste, but if words like 'liberal' and 'progressive' have any meaning to the rest of us, Blagojevich certainly qualifies, at least as far as his fiscal and economic policies are concerned.

Frank's second and even more hilarious contention is that the Blagojevich scandal "interrupts, in spectacular fashion, a long stretch in which most of the Beltway scandal-makers had an "R" after their names." Now, certainly the Capitol Hill Republicans had more than their fair share of scandals the last four years, for which they have been duly punished, but to suggest that Hill Democrats are a clean-government crowd is just laughable. Without mentioning Frank by name, Kimberley Strassel ran a column in the WSJ a few days later naming a sampling of the Congressional Democrats with serious ethics problems right now - Rangel, Jefferson, Mollohan, Dodd, Guitierrez, Reyes, Kanjorski, Murtha (she missed Tim Mahoney, who got booted over a sex scandal just two years after winning his seat due to a Mark Foley sex scandal that Rahm Emanuel helped keep quiet until a month before Election Day). And that's just Congress. We at RedState.com started up a "Corrupt Democrat Watch" last summer, samples here and here, and we eventually had to put it on ice for a while for lack of manpower; the sheer volume of this stuff from Democratic governors, Mayors, state legislatures and city councils is practically a full-time job to follow (we never did get around to a full roundup on corrupt Mayors like Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit of Sheila Dixon of Baltimore or late-breaking news on Birmingham's Larry Langford). And now, of course, Bill Richardson. The best you can say of Frank's argument is that most of the recent scandals trumpeted by the media involved Republicans.

In the final analysis, Blago's style of graft, while heavier-handed than usual, is inseparable from liberalism as a political ideology and the Democratic Party as an institution. Government, by its very nature, involves giving some people power over the liberty and property of others. Because some government is necessary and because human nature is what it is, there will always be some people who abuse that power, and many of those will do so for personal gain. As a result, we will always have some level of scandal on both sides of the aisle. The root of influence peddling, after all, is the influence, not the peddling.

But there are a number of features of liberalism and the Democratic Party that make them especially and uniquely prone to corruption, always have and always will:

Ideology and Power: Contemporary liberal/progressive ideology stresses, at every turn, that government officials should be given an ever-increasing share of public money to control and disperse, and an ever-increasing role in telling people and businesses how they can use the money and property they are left with. Government officials are, we are to believe, better able to make the 'right' decisions about who gets what and how businesses are permitted to operate. A lot of this is out-and-out substitution of government for the private sector, but for the most part, rather than an avowedly socialist model (in which the state owns resources and their distribution is directly controlled by the politically powerful), American liberals/progressives since Woodrow Wilson have preferred to run what remains of the private sector through a corporatist model in which Big Government and Big Labor, acting in tandem, purport to get the buy-in of Big Business to 'responsible' business regulation. In practice, no matter which system is used, it ends up being a short step from believing you have the right and wisdom to direct other people's property to more deserving recipients and better uses to believing that you are one of the more deserving recipients, and a short trip from telling business how to do its business to telling it who to do business with based on the desire to reward yourself and your friends. The root of money in politics, after all, is politics in money.

Accountability: Republicans, as a rule, get elected by promising to be more faithful stewards of public money (Republicans promise to leave people alone, and it's hard to bribe a man with his own money), and so naturally they tend to get un-elected when they fail to deliver that. Also, even in high-watermarks of Republican power like the 2002-06 period, there are a lot fewer long-term one-party GOP strongholds than there are Democratic ones. By contrast, Democrats who get elected by promising to give people free stuff with other people's money are a lot harder to hold accountable simply because they gave some of it to different people. If you look at a list of Republicans felled by scandal in the past decade, few of them would have lost their jobs if they'd been Democrats.

Urban Machine Politics: It's always been true of American (and not only American) politics that big-city governments are bigger, more intrusive and more corrupt, and it's also always been true that Democrats have, at any given time, long-term headlocks on the great majority of such governments. Machines of that nature are not so much ideological as they are coalitions of self-interest in which political power and political favor are inseparable. Michelle Obama grew up in such a machine - her father worked a coveted City job and worked for the Democratic ward - and it was only natural when she went to work herself for Mayor Daley, and from then on served as a conduit of favors between her career, her husband's career and the Daley machine. It's no accident that the list of corrupt Democrats is usually dominated by big-city politicians who are insulated from challenge to their job security. And of course, the best way to get such insulation, as machine politicians since Tammany Hall have known, is to run on ethnic/racial solidarity, since it's easier to stay Irish (or black, or whatever) than it is to stay honest or competent at your job. Regardless of what the Democratic party's brain may want at any given time, its body is an organism composed of political favor-trading with other people's money.

All of which is why Blagojevich and Richardson should not in any way be seen as an anomaly, any more than Charlie Rangel (the political successor of Adam Clayton Powell, who the House unsuccessfully tried to expel for corruption) and Chris Dodd (whose father was censured by the Senate on ethics grounds) are anomalies among Congressional Democrats. These two scandals at the outset of Obama's term (as well as those held over from Clinton Administration scandals) are not the end of scandal under Obama, or even the beginning of the end; they are, as Churchill would say, only the end of the beginning.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:00 PM | Politics 2009 | Comments (34) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Wow! Crank you are going to get blasted by the liberals and Democrats for this post! Stand by for all guns blazing away.

PS: How fast will the liberals/democrats steer the comments to Bush/Plain/Conservatives/Republicans and away from their party and demigod?

Posted by: Lee at January 6, 2009 3:30 PM

Lee,

I don't think you are going to see anyone defend Blago or Rezko or disagree that it has been a distraction to Obama while he prepares to take office. It remains to be seen whether it affects his actual administration.

The statement that will probably raise the most ire is this one:

"But there are a number of features of liberalism and the Democratic Party that make them especially and uniquely prone to corruption."

It turns an otherwise factual post into an unsupportable overreach. It's just plain silly to argue that democrats/liberals are somehow "uniquely prone to corruption." It doesn't even stand up to scrutiny.

To give you a local example, in CT, former governor and former federal inmate John Rowland and his aides were indicted for corruption for receiving money and favors from businesses in exchange for state contracts. Any political party who is in power and in position to pass laws as well as hand out favors and money is subject to corruption.

Posted by: MVH at January 6, 2009 3:52 PM

Yawns. What's Obama's approval rate at now, +29 for Rasmussen and over 70% for Gallup? These "scandals" sure are making a dent.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at January 6, 2009 3:56 PM

Mike - My point is not to suggest that Republican corruption doesn't happen; I dealt with that specifically in the post. My point is that there's a whole 'nother order of magnitude with the Democrats that is structural and ideological in nature.

Seth - You nicely illustrate the attitude that leads to the lack of accountability I am talking about. Remind me never again to believe that you care about integrity in government, just approval ratings.

Posted by: Crank at January 6, 2009 3:59 PM

Crank, its hard to take you seriously when you argue that Democrats are more prone to corruption than Republicans, and even harder to accept that all you care about is "integrity" in goverment rather than working to ruin Obama's administration.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at January 6, 2009 4:01 PM

hey seth-Nixon won reelection with 61% of the vote in 1972, Bush 41 had an 85% approval rating 2 years before 1992 and the current Bush had the highest approval rating ever polled. What's your point?

The honeymoon for President-elect Empty Suit begins to end in 2 weeks. Enjoy.

Posted by: dch at January 6, 2009 4:04 PM

dch - They really do not handle criticism of their Messiah well. Not at all.

Posted by: Crank at January 6, 2009 4:08 PM

I think each party is prone to its own flavor of corruption. I think whether the Democratic flavor is actually a "whole other order of magnitude" is debatable. Although Democrats, particularly big city Democrats, are more prone to continuing to get re-elected after being involved in corruption cases.

Posted by: Jerry at January 6, 2009 4:08 PM

"My point is that there's a whole 'nother order of magnitude with the Democrats that is structural and ideological in nature."

I understood your point, but your description of the particular structure of the democratic party is based on points that are applicable to -any- political party. You would just have to switch around the interest groups.

For example, when you talk about urban machine politics, you state:

"Machines of that nature are not so much ideological as they are coalitions of self-interest in which political power and political favor are inseparable. "

Are you really saying that the republican party is not based on coalitions of self-interest in which power and favor are inseparable? You are basically describing just about every political party, you would just have to characterize their "machine" differently.

Posted by: MVH at January 6, 2009 4:41 PM

"My point is that there's a whole 'nother order of magnitude with the Democrats that is structural and ideological in nature."

I understood your point, but your description of the particular structure of the democratic party is based on points that are applicable to -any- political party. You would just have to switch around the interest groups.

For example, when you talk about urban machine politics, you state:

"Machines of that nature are not so much ideological as they are coalitions of self-interest in which political power and political favor are inseparable. "

Are you really saying that the republican party is not based on coalitions of self-interest in which power and favor are inseparable? You are basically describing just about every political party, you would just have to characterize their "machine" differently.

Posted by: MVH at January 6, 2009 4:42 PM

Crank, you put a lot of time into this post. Unfortunately, not a lot of thought.

First, you talk all about Chicago and the second thing you bring up is Bill Richardson, who has absolutely nothing to do with Chicago and was dumped by Obama so that's out.

Second, your sole tie of Obama to Blagojevich is that Obama, the Democratic Senator, endorsed the incumbent Democratic Governor for reelection. Obviously anticipating the Dems support Dems argument, you highlighted Lisa Madison as a Dem who did not endorse Blago. What you didn't mention and presumably don't know since you did research with blinders on is that Lisa Madigan and her father, Michael Madigan, Speaker of the House in Illinois, have openly feuded with Blago for years for reasons that have everything to do with in-state power and nothing to do with corruption (Michael Madigan is a machine politician).

Third, Jesse Jackson Jr. was apparently an informant for the Feds during the Blagojevich investigation. While Jesse Jr. may be a sleazeball who has no business in Congress, there is no evidence that he did anything wrong in his failed pursuit of the Senate seat (though some of his supporters may have).

Fourth, Valerie Jarrett is an Executive for one of the largest private developers in Chicago. Her company, Habitat, does projects of a magnitude that Rezko could never have dreamed of taking on. You've never shown a link between her and Rezko.

Fifth, the idea that Obama ran against Bobby Rush at the behest of or a favor to Mayor Daley is patently absurd. Do you have anything to back that up? Daley was and is a popular mayor. Bobby Rush ran a race-based campaign against Mayor Daley that turned a lot of people off. Obama was an ambitious politician who thought he saw an opening. He was wrong. Mayor Daley did not help out Obama's Congressional campaign.

The rest of the stuff is just silly, e.g. Obama's Chief of Staff filled Blago's Congressional seat with a lot of the same support. When a seat is voluntarily vacated by someone, Republican or Democrat, you can be sure there's going to be a lot of overlap between the staff of the old and new Congresspeople.

So when you put it all together Crank, you don't have any king of "pretty clear picture" of anything other than you as a man who is still so sad and bitter over the resounding defeat that social conservatives took this election season that you cannot rationally write about the President-Elect.

You recently took a bit of a break because work was busy. I'd suggest you take another one. Talk about the Mets, talk about museums you like, talk about anything other than politics for a few weeks because your greatest blogging gift, your ability to give well-reasoned arguments, seems to have temporarily left you.

Posted by: Mike at January 6, 2009 4:46 PM

Time to unsuspend the disbelief MVH. Yes, Crank is really saying that Republicans are better people than Democrats.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at January 6, 2009 4:47 PM

MVH - The difference is structural and based on the fact that the GOP's principal base is interested in the general interest in less govt, less regulation, etc., as opposed to specific direct benefits. Both parties do have their interest groups and their ideological elements; my point is simply that the latter is more prominent in the GOP, the former in the Democrats. The idea of distributing the benefits of government equally without distinction is theoretically irreconcilable with being a Democrat.

Mike - I'm well aware that there are conflicting power centers and that Madigan, for example, has her own agenda tied to her father's. My point is not that she's a paragon of honor but simply that her refusal to endorse Blago shows that it was not foreordained that everyone in the party would. And the fact that she distanced herself from Blago because she's outside his orbit only sharpens the question of why Obama did not.

Posted by: Crank at January 6, 2009 4:58 PM

"Crank is really saying that Republicans are better people than Democrats."

No, that's not a fair criticism - he's not saying that. I just think he's convinced himself that the democratic party is unique when, if you take a hard look at the essentials of his argument, it really isn't. Also, the contrast is based on some debatable points, namely, that republicans are elected to be effective stewards of public money, as opposed to, say, to direct that public money to certain causes, e.g. defense spending. It's a rather rosy view of the Republican party.

Posted by: MVH at January 6, 2009 5:01 PM

First I’d like to thank everyone for staying on topic. Aside from a few cheap shots at Crank, the vast majority of the comments are relevant.

Crank does two things in his blog. First, he attempts to tie Obama to the Blagojevich's case and Chicago political corruption. I think he was able to show that both Obamas have links to the Chicago political slime and that they probably don’t know any other way. I don’t think a strong case was made for Obama to be tied to the present Blagojevich mess. I’d give him a C- for this effort.

The second part of the blog lists 3 features of liberalism that he feels makes their ideology more prone to corruption. The first point that present day liberals push for larger government and since government is corrupt that leaves open the door for more corruption is a valid but not strong point. I give that a plus 1.

The second point about accountability is weak. This one I don’t buy as Crank expresses it. If he had made the point that present day liberals have an “anything goes” approach to life and hence don’t want to be held accountable for their actions; then that is a possible argument. Overall, not a strong case here. I give this a minus 1.

The last point about urban politics is really just because the Democrats have run all of the big cities for years. The combination of unions and minorities has given this one party long term control. If the Republicans had such a strong control in urban areas, I agree with MVH that they would be equally as corrupt. I give this a minus 2.

So overall, I don’t think Crank made his case very well. Sorry Crank, I usually agree with you but not on this one.

Posted by: Lee at January 6, 2009 6:38 PM

Dear Crank,

"The gentlemen doth protest to much."

If the media had done their investigative due diligence as was abosolutely required by ideological bent in the case of Sarah Palin would we even be having this discussion?

Is the esteemed Rev. Wright any different than David Duke?

Did anyone rebut the sweet heart deal Michelle Obama received and the quid pro quo of largesse Obamagrammed back to the hospital she "worked" for?

If republicans controlled urban centers and were corrupted by their wiles, could the cities be any worse off than they are today? Schools ,corruption, crime, ect, ect,

People on the left had better put on their man suits. The dispersions cast toward their "empty vessel" are guaranteed to contain infinitely more substance than Bush lied blah blah blah.

Posted by: Jeff Bergman at January 6, 2009 7:23 PM

How is the Democratic party's philosophy any more conducive to greedy politicians starting pay to play schemes like Bogojevich than the Republicans? This particular scandal is about monetary greed, which knows no party boundary. It's right to condemn Bogo, wrong to slime Obama with Bogo's corruption due to their fellow travels as member of the same political party.

Posted by: robert at January 6, 2009 9:32 PM

New year. Old blather. Hmm, Obama is bad, Democrats are bad, liberals are bad. Republicans are good. Got it. Yawn.

Posted by: jim at January 6, 2009 9:48 PM

As a HUUUUGGEE liberal, let me say that Democrats are corrupt.

But to listen to Crank, who defended Cheney and W. (Let's just say it's a TOTAL coincidence that they just happened to make $$$ from the war they started--LOL) talk about corruption after defending it for 8 plus years is hilarious.
Crank, try to be serious for 5 seconds, it'll be such a change of pace for your readers

Posted by: Berto at January 7, 2009 2:47 AM

Berto,

Please supply account numbers verifying the executive's enrichment

Fund raisers in common that sit in federal lock up for corruption ala Rezko are not worth investigaing?

Substantative evidence versus the lunacy shouted from all corners of liberal free think is going to prove vastly more intellectual than unproven jibberish.

Berto, thank you for illustrating my point.

Posted by: Jeff Bergman at January 7, 2009 9:27 AM

I think a lot of you are missing the point. Basically, what he is saying that since government by nature is corrupt, the party that favors big government (in this case the Democrats) are going to be more corrupt. I'm not sure how anyone could disagree with that statement. The secondary point is how Obama has managed to be untouched by these scandals, even though it's likely (because he's a Democrat from Chicago) he's very involved in them.

Posted by: Tom at January 7, 2009 1:00 PM

What's shocking to me is the lack of dissenting talking points the site-kooks neglected to cut-and-paste. I guess if the media won't cover this issue then the usual sources won't prepare the usual sack of lies in response.

In fact, you lefties might look at the total lack of media coverage as a sort of handicap since you come to this discussion empty-handed. You should complain to Yglesias and Sullivan for leaving you unarmed!

And Crank, it looks like the site-kooks believe Obama's halo protects him from being corrupted, like you could dip him down an outhouse and he'd swim up looking like a game-show host.

Posted by: spongeworthy at January 7, 2009 2:14 PM

Jeff Bergman,
What are you saying? That because Bush and Cheney work for me I should have access to their bank statements?
Nice. That's the kind of government transparency we can both get behind.

As for us crazy lefties, we weren't the ones who dismissed Richard Clarke's claims because he was "just trying to cash in on the book he wrote". But, of course, you probably already knew that.

Look at that finger you're pointing at me. Do you see the other fingers pointing at yourself?

Posted by: Berto at January 7, 2009 2:48 PM

Berto,

Again you have done a nice job of diverting the discussion from Liberals/Obama/Democrats to Bush/Cheney. Congrats!

Posted by: Lee at January 7, 2009 3:37 PM

Wow. That is not an expression of admiration for the rationale, logic or conclusions of the post. The post is lacking in the first two and, therefore, wrong as to the third. Rather, it is shock and awe that Crank would spend so much time on so little. Obama hasn't even taken office yet and Crank is (figuratively) running around with his head cut off about supposed "liberal" corruption.

The really amusing part is the claim that the media doesn't cover these allegations. Really? Blago and Richardson have been front-page news. I guess Crank's complaint is that the media has not tied the stories around Obama's neck. The reason, of course, is that his ties to them are, at best, tangential.

Posted by: Magrooder at January 7, 2009 4:50 PM

The really amusing part is the claim that the media doesn't cover these allegations. Really? Blago and Richardson have been front-page news.


Jeebus, Magrooder. Could you be a bigger ass?

Crank points out repeatedly that this should have been covered before we elected the guy. How could you miss that? Are you even capable of reading anything longer than 3 sentences? Do you get bored and distracted picking your nose?

WTF?

Posted by: spongeworthy at January 7, 2009 5:46 PM

No problem, Lee.
I learned that move by listening to Conservatives the past 8 years.
Let's see if this scenario is at all familiar to you:
A complaint is lodged against the Bush Administration (pick one among: spying on Americans without a warrant, lying to the American people about Saddam Hussein, politicizing the justice dept., hiding behind the military, etc. etc) and the VERY FIRST THING out of Conservatives mouths is "yeah, but Clinton..."

Surely you remember when Clinton's VP office outed a CIA agent during wartime, don't you?

Or is your defense that getting your panties in a bunch is only allowed when a Democrat (not a liberal, BTW) does something?

Posted by: Berto at January 8, 2009 11:38 AM

spongeworthy,
Wouldn't it have just been easier for Crank to go into his archives and re-post his screeds about how the MSM allowed Dick Cheney to rail against the evil of taxes, while being the CEO of a company which reaps the majority of its revenue from government grants (paid for by taxes, as Crank was kind enough to point out)?

Crank,
I'm having trouble finding those posts in your archives. Can you locate them and repost them for all to see?
Thanks.

Posted by: Berto at January 8, 2009 11:56 AM

Who gets to tell Berto that Dick Cheney is not the CEO of Halliburton and has not been for, oh, say, 8 years, being otherwise employed?

Posted by: Crank at January 8, 2009 12:30 PM

Spongeworthy,

Oh. I get it. The media should have known last summer information that became known in the last few weeks. How stupid of me?

Crank,

Cheney continued to have financial ties to Haliburton while serving as VP. Oh my God. The media didn't cover that fully at the time. Must be a vast right wing conspiracy. Are you really that thick that you think direct employment is the only mechanism for receiving compensation?

Posted by: Magrooder at January 8, 2009 5:06 PM

I guess, as usual, you did not read all the way through Berto's comment.

Cheney had the usual issue, with people re-entering public life from a private company, of untangling his financial ties. My understanding is that he (1) took out basically an annuity on his deferred compensation, so he would have no ongoing stake in whether the company could afford to pay him, and (2) signed over to charity the rights to his stock options. See here.

Posted by: Crank at January 8, 2009 5:22 PM

Has Cheney guaranteed he won't have any ties to his former company when he has the usual issue , re-entering private life? If so, kudos to the war criminal (see post of 12/18/2008) for that.

Posted by: Berto at January 9, 2009 8:33 AM

Berto,

What Cheney does with his private life after public service is his business.

Posted by: MVH at January 9, 2009 11:46 AM

How I regret coming late to this discussion!

While I am shocked, shocked! to learn that the One, the Light-bringer, our secular Messiah has been less than an open book when it comes to his background, the main advantage of Crank's post is that it explains, better than anything else I've read, why Obama supporters insist Sarah Palin is unqualified for high office.

After all, she's *against* corruption. Face up to it, conservatives--she wouldn't have lasted a week in Chicago politics.

Posted by: Dai Alanye at January 10, 2009 2:45 PM
Site Meter 250wde_2004WeblogAwards_BestSports.jpg