Thursday, April 2, 2009
Lefty's Favorite Crooks, and how they make the game dirty
The Justice Department announced that the case (of 7 felony counts related to ethics violations) against former Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) has been dropped because of prosecutorial misconduct. Stevens, who held his seat in the Senate for 40 years (elected in 1968), lost his election to then Anchorage Mayor (now proud Democratic Senator) Mark Begich.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) felt that if Stevens had not been charged in the Fall, Republicans would have held the seat, giving them 42 out of 100. As Al Franken (D-MN) is likely to be seated soon, giving Democrats 59 seats (1 shy of the mighty filibuster-buster), the greater question must be asked:
"In today's world, what is the nature of the relationship between criminal violations and political outcomes?"
The answer seems to be a muddled mess, as we have seen from both parties. Let's take a look at 2007-8. Democrats ejected the laughable Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) who was replaced by Pat Quinn, also seated Obama replacement Roland Burris, despite clear pending culpability. After former Governor Eliot Spitzer (D-NY) resigned, David Paterson took his seat. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigns. We get Michael Mukasey. Sweet!
Even Karl Rove resigned recently! Look what that got us. Fox News=black hole of rejection and demogoguery (see Glenn Beck).
Now not all of these resignations/replacement were directly linked to criminal prosecution, but let's be real- THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN.
This entire debacle reminds me of Bill's old piece from November about why Alaskans elect and nearly re-elected obvious crooks. He made a great point about how people (including voters) care about the bottom line. Until we hold a referendum on the bottom line (and its intimacy with politics), we cannot expect the madness to stop. The point I'm getting at, after mild digression, is that without corruption and criminality, politics would look a whole hell of a lot different than it does.
What would it look like?