Democrats & Liberals Archives

Cronyism Continues Unabated

Avoiding the appearance of impropriety is something one might expect of politicians and public officials, especially when attempting to recover from a public relations disaster. The current administration shows no such inclination. If anything they seem to glory in goading their opponents into making accusations of wrongdoing which may not be provable, by behaving like the child next to the open cookie jar.

  • "Nothing improper happened in our secret energy task force, but we're not telling who was there."
  • "Scalia might cast the deciding vote in protecting that secret, but you just have to trust us that he can do so impartially in spite of his friendship and recent duck hunting trip with Cheney."
  • "We'll straighten out those little overcharges (honest errors, of course!) by Halliburton in their Iraq contract work. How dare you suggest their getting the no bid contract had anything to do with Cheney's connection!"
And the list goes on.

I sometimes wonder if they repeatedly push the envelope as some sort of loyalty test. Maintain plausible deniability, but intentionally create the appearance of impropriety whether or not impropriety existed, to keep your opponents fishing, and to flush out the less than fully faithful among your insiders. The only other explanation I can think of is analogous to the serial criminal whose behavior become progressively bolder and more outrageous with each crime.

The Katrina cleanup and reconstruction effort has the silver lining of providing jobs at least, and Federal officials are the first to agree with many Democrats that such jobs should go to locals from the affected gulf region. But administration critics quickly predicted the first line recipients of Federal aid would be none other than those corporations to whom they owe their election. FEMA wasted no time in proving them right by outsourcing the body recovery effort to a subsidiary of a company owned by Bush family friend Robert Waltrip. And to further test our suspicions, it is a company which has been involved in previous scandals, dating back to Bush's tenure as Texas Governor.

The news of this outsourcing hasn't been widely reported by the major networks, but has been corroborated by Reuters, a Louisiana TV station, the San Luis Obispo News, the News Insider, and the Contra Costa Times. Deepening the left's suspicions of potential new criminal behavior by the private contractor, is the order that no pictures be allowed, and reporters are not to be within 300 feet of the work.

Of course, none of this is proof that any new wrongdoing or misinformation is planned. It is possible that in spite of the connections, Kenyon International was the closest available contractor to deal with a body recovery effort of this magnitude - I don't know. Preventing the gruesome display of dead bodies on the nightly news before next of kin has been properly notified has arguable merit. It is claimed that the contract is being given with a 10% discount.

But how many times are we expected to believe that "the dog ate his homework", before we demand accountability from Bush and his pals. Cronyism is rampant throughout this administration, and I can no longer take them seriously about anything. The only path I see left for this government regaining credibility is for the whole lot of them to resign or be tossed out. I know that won't happen. They'll turn out all of their best speech writers to regain the trust of those that can be turned. The tipping point may have finally been passed, however.

Thanks to Hungry Blues, and Body and Soul, for alerting me to this story.

Posted by Walker Willingham at September 19, 2005 3:46 AM