Monday, September 3, 2007

Update: Why Scandals Hurt Republicans, Not Democrats

Something I hadn't considered, in my recent post about the Craig scandal and resignation: Republican voters hold their candidates to higher standards. Democrats expect their politicians to be crooks, as long as they provide pork for the hometown constituents. From a column by Jack Kelly in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: bias is not the main reason why Republicans suffer more from scandals. Democratic voters expect Democrats to steal on their behalf. Lawmakers are judged on the basis of how many goodies from the federal treasury they can shower on their constituents. The typical Democratic voter doesn't mind terribly if their senator or congressman takes something for himself along the way. (Time Magazine's story on Rep. Mollohan's re-election was headlined, "Pork Trumps Scandal.")

The typical Republican voter wants his senator or congressman to keep his taxes low, his government honest. He is furious when GOP lawmakers stick their fingers in the cookie jar, or give lip service to values they do not practice.

Republicans must be squeaky clean to win elections because their voters will crucify them for behavior Democratic voters wink at so long as the pork keeps flowing. This is why his GOP colleagues already have stripped Sen. Craig of his committee assignments, and many have called for his resignation, while Democratic senators are comfortable having among them a man who left to drown in his automobile a young woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair. (Bold mine).

Well, that explains a lot, doesn't it? The facts clearly seem to bear this out. Here's a list of corrupt Democrats who've been reelected despite being under an ethical cloud, shall we say:

  • Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is the target of a federal investigation, was forced (by Republicans) to step down from the ethics committee last year but was reelected in November.
  • Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) was the target of a 2-year federal bribery investigation, had $90,000 in bribe money found in his freezer, and was still reelected last November.
  • Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) was involved in the ABSCAM scandal, also apparently steered millions in federal funding to companies that were clients of his brother's lobbying firm. He was also reelected in November.
  • Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) found guilty in civil court of leaking an illegally recorded phone conversation to the media in March 2006. He too, was reelected last November.
  • Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) linked to countless scandals, was reelected last November.
  • Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-IL), linked to countless scandals, was reelected last November.

Update: Mark R. Levin at National Review Online:

There is indeed a culture of corruption, and it extends well beyond any single politician. It swirls around big government. It always has and it always will. It has become institutionalized in many ways. And that culture of corruption celebrates clever word games used by unelected judges to exercise power they don’t have as they rewrite the Constitution; it demeans people of faith who speak out against the culture of corruption and for — dare I say — family values; it undermines and seeks to demoralize Americans in uniform as they fight a horrible enemy on the battlefield; it demonizes entrepreneurs and successful enterprises; it uses race, age, religion, gender, and whatever works to balkanize Americans; and so on. This is the real culture of corruption. Let’s call it what it is — modern liberalism. And its impact on our society is far worse than the disorderly-conduct misdemeanor to which Larry Craig pled guilty and for which he has now resigned.
(Bold mine).

Botched (Wrong House) Raids—A BIG P.R. Problem For Police Departments.

...And sooner or later, someone’s going to get killed!

Oh, wait...never mind.

In Temecula, California the police department raided a two story house. Brandishing firearms and shouting expletives and threats, they quickly ordered two adults and four teenagers to the floor and placed them in cuffs. Then they trashed the place, kicking down interior doors and ransacking the house while they searched for drugs. When the couple’s 5 month old infant began to cry, the mother, who was still handcuffed and prone on the floor, asked a nearby officer about her baby’s condition. She was advised not to move or he’d shoot her in the head. The officers notified their superiors that both floors of the house had been cleared. The officers were informed over the radio, within hearing of the residents, that the house they were supposed to be raiding only had one floor.


Well, at least the city is apologetic, has temporarily disbanded the SWAT team, and is offering to settle in lieu of a lawsuit, with a promise that the officers involved will be reprimanded.

In Philadelphia, PA, the residents were out of town when the police broke down the front door, entered and searched the house. They disabled the security alarm system by tearing it from the wall, emptied cupboards, pulled out and overturned drawers, and then figured out they were at the wrong house. Another house just down the street was raided simultaneously, and several people placed under arrest. Apparently these bozos strayed to the wrong house, unsupervised. Philadelphia P.D. isn’t talking about this incident.

I know police officers are human beings trying to do a very difficult job, and in every human endeavor, mistakes happen. But supervisors need to make absolutely sure that they have the right address. People have been killed, and more will die if this trend continues. I agree with Glenn Reynolds, who says that this sort of thing will keep happening until the penalty for wrong house raids becomes much more severe. The careers of all involved in these incidents need to take a serious hit. If that means dismissal, so be it. Others think there should be some jail time involved. I don't know if I'd go that far unless corruption, not just incompetence, can be proven.

There's more here. The comments are kind of fun. It seems the drug using public is outraged, while others are downright gleeful about the law enforcement community's, um, discomfort.