I remember how Democrats used the corruption issue against Republicans in 2006, when they took back the Congress. There certainly was some corruption evident: Duke Cunningham of California is now in prison over financial irregularities; there were at least three sexual scandals as well. I oppose corruption no matter which party it hits.
At the same time, though, there was Democrat William Jefferson of Louisiana, who had $90,000 of FBI money in his office. He is also now in jail. I certainly don’t remember his case getting as much media coverage as the others.
One other difference: every time a Republican was caught in something, the party did not stand behind that person; that’s not always the case with Democrats.
Case in point: Congressman Charles Rangel of New York, who has now been accused of thirteen violations by the House Ethics Committee, which is composed of equal numbers from both parties. Rangel was chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which writes the tax laws. All of his violations center around tax fraud. Will he be expelled from the Congress or merely slapped on the wrist? After all, we must recall the promise that Nancy Pelosi made when she became Speaker:
Is Rangel the exception or the rule?
In the past year and a half, we have seen the congressional leadership under Pelosi and Reid try a number of end runs around the rules as they shoved legislation down Americans’ throats. Is that ethical?
There was a certain political cartoon that came out prior to the 2008 elections that I think explains the situation better than most. I’ve used it a couple of times in these posts, but I think it’s time to resurrect it again:
This cartoon doesn’t exonerate Republicans who fail to hold to their standards, but it clearly shows what I believe to be the reality: the bar is much higher for Republicans than Democrats, thereby making it easier to see Republican failures. After all, it is the Republicans who claim to be standing for family values, etc. If they violate their public stance, the hypocrisy is stark.
Not so much for the party that promotes acceptance of abortion and same-sex marriage, and that accuses evangelical Christians of trying to force morality on the nation. For Democrats, the bar is pretty low to begin with–it’s not difficult to achieve the moral standards they set for themselves.
Charlie Rangel is the exception in the sense that he took his corruption farther than most, but the culture of corruption is alive and well among the entire leadership.