Democrats Grabbing the Boodle with Both Hands

“Financial services companies are inclined to give to me because I’m chairman of the committee important to their interests,” says Barney Frank as he grabs the boodle with both hands. You gotta love his honesty and I have to admit that Dems are clearly better at shearing the fat sheep than we are. They can get into the revolving door behind you and come out ahead.

We should have expected such virtuosity from the people who made a hot sheet hotel out of the Lincoln bedroon managed to squeeze $100,000 from a visit to a Buddhist temple, but since Dems have been out of power they have been less able to employ their obviously well honed skills. We have forgotten how good they are at these things. And after twelve years in the wilderness, they back and they are hungry. Now that they have the infrastructure (Pelosi even wants a bigger official plane that seats more donors) and power positions, lots of Dems will be dining on pork from very on the hog.

Some of the Dem freshmen have never had the chance to grab the big bucks. Fortunately, some of old timers still remember the good old days and they can mentor you new guys on how to pile up gold. The journeymen Democratic money makers can learn at the feet of classic backroom dealer pols like John Murtha or from the more sophisticated ENRON Dems. Democrats have seen their opportunities and taken them from the time of the Tweed ring, to the Kingfish thorough the Daley machine and beyond. Louisana Democrat Edwin Edward actually had as his campaign slogan elect the crook. Democratic voters did just that.

So now that the Dems are back - let the good times roll.

Posted by Jack at February 24, 2007 11:05 AM
Comments
Comment #209538

Jack
You have outdone yourself. What an amazing piece of hypocracy as you defend one of the most corrupt administrations in history. I suppose Dems are supposed to take vows of poverty as they try and wrest power from your brutal kleptocracy.

Posted by: BillS at February 24, 2007 11:50 AM
Comment #209539

BillS

No chance of this vow of poverty thing. Al Gore managed to raise $100k after visiting a Buddist temple where the people DID have a vow of poverty, so I figure the Dems can beat this one.

The also will not be wresting power from the brutal klepocracy since THEY are the klepocracy. It is just they have not had so many chances lately to make the big bucks.

Posted by: Jack at February 24, 2007 12:07 PM
Comment #209543

Sigh. It almost makes us yearn for the entertaining Republican penchant for gay hookers, pedophilia, homophobia, and flag burning amendments, or timeless classics such as the 2003 State of the Union address.

Nothing like a little flamethrowing to start the day. Is the point that both sides are beholden to corporate interests? That McCain and Hillary will buy their way into the nomination? That we need public financing?

Posted by: phx8 at February 24, 2007 12:50 PM
Comment #209552

Jack,

In general, politicians of BOTH parties are about equally corrupt.
We have short memories.
The fact is, the IN-PARTY always grows slightly more corrupt than the OUT-PARTY.
That is why the IN-PARTY becomes the OUT-PARTY, as they simply continue to take turns enjoying a 90%+ re-election rate.

This will devolve into yet another debate over which is more corrupt.

But, voters keep rewarding both for it by repeatedly re-electing them, letting them enjoy a 90%+ re-election rate.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 24, 2007 1:32 PM
Comment #209558

Republicans should clean up their own house before complaining about how dirty the democrats’ is. Also, as the party of “family values,” shouldn’t they be holding themselves to a higher standard and kinda expecting the godless democrats to act in their own (monetary) best interest. (Reps are the capitalists, they should know something about the invisible hand.)

I don’t excuse the democrats, and this kind of corruption can hardly be excused, but as long as republicans keep up the corruption they don’t really have any high ground to attack dems from. What America needs is a real outpouring of rage towards those who betray the public interest and voters boot ALL corrupt politicians out of office.

Posted by: Silima at February 24, 2007 2:10 PM
Comment #209560

Actually, when discovered, Republicans do “clean up their own house”, swiftly kicking the offending politician out of office and out of any substantial role in party activities.

Democrats, on the other hand, circle the media wagons, hold press conferences that celebrate their corrupt elected officials as “victims”, get their crooks re-elected, and then promote them to head important Congressional committees.

Posted by: Michael Chance at February 24, 2007 2:18 PM
Comment #209561

d.a.n

You are right, although most of real champion grafters have been Dems. It will just be more fun for our side to be self righteous for the next couple of years.

Power tends to corrupt. Ironically, it corrupts those who proport to be idealists faster. I guess they just do not see it coming.

Posted by: Jack at February 24, 2007 2:19 PM
Comment #209562

more hypocracy. Its a big deal for Gore to get a paltry sum through a religious group. How much do Reps get from religious groups? When the congress gets furthur in their responsibilities of oversite abandoned by the Rep congress we will know the extent of Rep malfeasance. In the meantime Bushco is getting rid of federal attorneys that might make trouble in a CYA attempt.It might be wise of them to push for prison reform since so many of them will wind up there.

Posted by: BillS at February 24, 2007 2:21 PM
Comment #209571

BillS

He got it from foreign donors. Of the $100,000, they had to give back $62,000.

The story is funny not because of the religious group, but rather the image that the Dems can get a pile of donations from people who do not have any money.

Posted by: Jack at February 24, 2007 2:40 PM
Comment #209581

Micheal Chance… If you say it often enough you start to belive your own lies. And the Dems are more likly to circle the firing squad then the wagons.

Posted by: Jeff at February 24, 2007 3:19 PM
Comment #209588

Michael,
Emcee: Congratulations, Michael! You are the next contestant on “The Price is Rightwing!” Take a slug of kool aid and tell us what you think!

Michael: “Actually, when discovered, Republicans do “clean up their own house”, swiftly kicking the offending politician out of office and out of any substantial role in party activities.”

Emcee: That is just adorable!

Crowd: (Clapping and cheering)

Emcee: Ok, Michael, time to play. You get to choose either what is inside this tightly wrapped, saran-wrapped brick, or what is behind the curtain.

Michael,
“Democrats… celebrate their corrupt officials.”

Emcee: One more thing, Michael. Behind the curtain is one of the following: 1) a discussion of corrupt Republicans and gay hookers, 2) a discussion of the Republican ethics committee and pedophilia, 3) corruption in Iraq. Or, you could choose the unknown topic inside the box.

Crowd: Republicans and gay hookers!

(Camera focuses on a man dressed only in leather straps, waving a sign over his head which reads, “militarystud4hire.com”

Which will it be?

Posted by: phx8 at February 24, 2007 4:06 PM
Comment #209590


The primary difference between the Democrats and Republicans is that although they both pander to the corporate interests that are going to abandon the people in just a few short years, the Democrats will tax some of that greed and give it to the workers and the poor, while Republicans can’t bring themselves to do that. So, Republicans give to the workers and to greed and just borrow the money.

Posted by: jlw at February 24, 2007 4:20 PM
Comment #209595

Folks-

Face it. Neither party is intersted in cleaning up the “climate of corruption” that is our Federal government. If they were, they would enact the following legislation:
1. No candidate for Federal office shall accept any money from any private entity. Only funds from the Federal Election Commission shall be spent on any campaign for Federal office.
2. No funds from any source will be spent by any entity in support or opposition to any candidate. Issue ads may be purchased so long as they do not mention or refer to any cnadidate.
3. As trustees of the airways, all commercial broadcast station, both radio and television, shall make available to all candidates for Federal office an amount of time to be determined by the Federal Election Commission. This time will be equally divided among the candidates for a given office.
4. No campaigning for any Federal office shall begin earlier than 9 months prior to the election date.
5. Anyone convicted of violating any of these laws shall be sentenced to a term of not less that 5 nor more than seven years in Federal prison and pay a fine not to exceed $250,000, said fine to be placed in the ederal election fund.

Cooments, critiques, suggestion for improvement?

Posted by: John Back at February 24, 2007 4:53 PM
Comment #209598

Power tends to corrupt. Ironically, it corrupts those who proport to be idealists faster. I guess they just do not see it coming.(sic)

Jack, what is your basis for that? Yes it is a well known saw that power corrupts. The people involved in the Republican corruption were hardly idealists.

It was quite clear from the start that they were pragmatic and greedy. That they used complex schemes to hide it, shows sophistication, not idealism.

It’s kind of sad that you had to go back to historical events from long ago to support your belief that the Dems are better at corruption than this past congress was. Tom Delay made the Dems look like pikers. D.a.n. has the real issue in hand…..corrupt big party politics.

Posted by: gergle at February 24, 2007 5:06 PM
Comment #209601

Jack

You are quite the agitator today Jack. I think your middle name must be Maytag. To imply after the last six years of sleaze and corruption that dems are any more unconsionable than repubs is laughable at best. I think the american people are well aware by now of the weakness of both parties where the influence of money is concerned. Seeing as corruption was a main motivator in the last election I am sure all of us are watching both parties closely. But it is the republicans who have hurdles to jump and walls to climb in order that they may regain lost trust. The latter is no small endeavor. At this point the trust is the dems to loose. I honestly can not imagine them approaching anything to the degree of what many consider the most corrupt and worthless congress in history.

What is most sad is that we are even having this conversation. The fact that we are trying to determine which party is more easily influenced as if it were expected and is an everyday event, to be taken lightly speaks volumes. A very sad reality indeed which should make us all realize the downfalls of blind party loyalty.

Posted by: ILdem at February 24, 2007 5:19 PM
Comment #209608

John Beck,
Well said. As many people have already noted, the problem is systemic.

ILdem,
I was going to post something along the same lines. While the problem is systemic, the Republican House, Senate, & Presidency took the ugliness to new heights. A corporatist political philosophy, friendly to big business at the expense of most Americans- “the business of America is business”- created a perfect storm for political corruption & unethical behavior.

Will the Democrats do any better? That remains to be seen. They have made a little progress in that direction. But until the system itself changes, until the influence of money & special interests is taken out of politics to the fullest extent possible, until then, the pump is still primed for more corruption, pork, and unethical behavior.

Posted by: phx8 at February 24, 2007 6:05 PM
Comment #209612

I think Silima hit the nail on the head: Democrats and Republicans should compete for the moral high ground. I should be an important issue for both parties at all times, because corruption makes the positions of both party volatile. If things go really bad, it could make things volatile for both parties at once.

It’s short sighted behavior, regardless of party.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 24, 2007 6:30 PM
Comment #209618

Here is a great article on corruption under the CPA in Iraq, from the American Conservative.

http://www.amconmag.com/2005/2005_10_24/cover.html

And here is a select quote:

“In one notorious incident in April 2004, $1.5 billion in cash that had just been delivered by three Blackhawk helicopters was handed over to a courier in Erbil, in the Kurdish region, never to be seen again. Afterwards, no one was able to recall the courier’s name or provide a good description of him.”

Just imagine! What went through the mind of that unnamed courier as he left with the money?

Corruption in Iraq has made anything done here domestically look pennyante. Republicans did nothing to investigate, nothing, despite repeated requests by Democrats. The Dems have held hearings, but the money is all long gone, billions and billions unaccounted for, and there is no record of where it went, no paper trail, nothing.

I have to admit, to some extent I stand in awe at the enormity of the theft, the incredible brazenness, the sheer nerve it would take to steal, not tens or thousands, or hundreds of thousands, but millions; tens of millions, even a billion dollars. Duke Cunningham and Jefferson are mere pikers compared to the money stolen in Iraq.

They say a war creates three armies: an army of mourners, an army of cripples, and an army of thieves.

Posted by: phx8 at February 24, 2007 7:44 PM
Comment #209619

Jack,

This is why we need publicly-funded elections. As long as we have privately funded elections, people will pay for “influence”. This should not come as a surprise to anyone.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 24, 2007 8:16 PM
Comment #209628

Jack,

Yes, it’s descipable. The difference between the Republican and Democratic posters on this site is that many of the latter will acknowledge this even when it involves their own party.

But until we have a Democratic president and Congress that institutionalize torture, the ugliest face of evil is clearly Republican. You Republicans who express indifference, who dismiss concerns with half-assed shrugs, contribute to this shame. The banality of evil, indeed. History will not be kind.

Posted by: Trent at February 24, 2007 9:35 PM
Comment #209636

phx8

“Will the Democrats do any better? That remains to be seen. They have made a little progress in that direction. But until the system itself changes, until the influence of money & special interests is taken out of politics to the fullest extent possible, until then, the pump is still primed for more corruption, pork, and unethical behavior.”

I totally agree. We all have to continue to lean on our legislators and let them know that we are watching and expecting continued ethics and campaign reform. And that we will have no qualms dropping our vote for them when the time comes if they do not follow our mandate.

Posted by: ILdem at February 24, 2007 10:31 PM
Comment #209637

So the question is which party will be the first to stop raising money and work to pass a public funding of elections law? The problem is whoever stops first loses. The sad thing is the amount of money needed to run for office. The even sadder thing is the amount of people that actually believe the politicians campaign propaganda.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 24, 2007 10:50 PM
Comment #209664

phx8

“They say a war creates three armies: an army of mourners, an army of cripples, and an army of thieves.”

I read the conservative coloumn. Amazing stuff! I was aware that corruption is part of the everyday norm over there. But to this degree is to say the least phenomenally absurd. What is even more appalling to me is that our executive branch seems to so idly dismiss and ignore the losses as though they are just part of the business of war. I think it safe to say that they are engaging in mafia tactics and to that end they are in my opinion no better.

I think we all agree and even George admits that the buck stops at the top. Being so, he and all involved should be held accountable for what will surely someday be investigated by an independant party with no influential ties.

You have effectively pointed out that once again coruption takes center stage in our government. The american voter should be appalled. But I am afraid that decades of corruption has instilled a sense of business as usual apathy in the minds of the voter. Public campaing financing is looking more and more like a viable alternative and effective means of lowering the levels of corruption in government.

Posted by: ILdem at February 25, 2007 11:12 AM
Comment #209665

Jack

I would like to thank you for helping to keep this issue alive. To me it is probably the biggest problem facing our nation today. So long as awareness is kept alive there is hope that it will take root with the voters.

Posted by: ILdem at February 25, 2007 11:23 AM
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