Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sleaze in High Places

Crooked/corrupt/immoral politicians have been around as long as there's been political action, with its built-in apparatus for profiting in every way imaginable. In the early 90s, a passel of them were convicted in Kentucky in a federal sting operation that sent some of them to the Big House, the most notable being the speaker of the House…for something like three years, where he was required to pay for his own keep. A Kentucky governor leaving office in 2003 was disgraced when the news hit the state that he had been seeing a mistress and using the state police as chauffeurs to transport him to his trysts, in the bargain. Think Bill Clinton.

The latest sleaze-official outed on the national scene is New York Democrat Governor Eliot Spitzer, caught in a prostitute-ring operation, though probably just as a john, although only a fraction of information has been made public thus far. The complaint lays out a sordid business, with the payoff for the assignation some $4,300, not to mention the transporting of a prostitute across state lines, also paid for by Spitzer, apparently a somewhat regular client.

Two things are necessary for the maintaining of an ordered government – (1) an educated populace and (2) integrity, especially on the part of public officials. The nation has the first, collectively, but woefully lacks the second, as witness daily media presentations of all kinds of shenanigans by elected officials and bureaucrats. One wonders how long a society can last when it abides scumbags in high places.

Spitzer had the gall to have his wife at his side in his "confession press conference," thus humiliating her, but at least he didn’t shed crocodile tears, the usual melodramatic adjunct to such public pronouncements of wrongdoing. The tears, of course, are not for what’s been done, but simply for getting caught. The wives who put up with this, one wonders, either lack dignity themselves or – most likely – are caught in a Catch-22 situation wherein they may be forced, like Hillary Clinton, to grin and bear it. In her case, she had hitched her ambition to Bill’s star and couldn’t let go. In any case, she could hardly have kicked him out of the White House.

Spitzer will lose out politically, no matter what happens, which makes one wonder about the nation with respect to Bill Clinton. Had the citizenry become so immune or inured to moral turpitude in 1999 that it just yawned and collectively said, "Well, boys will be boys"? Okay…he was impeached, but the senators, another group about which one wonders, couldn't bring themselves to convict.

In 2004 in adjoining New Jersey, then-governor McGreevey announced at a press conference that…well, he had been having an affair with a man. His wife stood beside him, of course, devastated. In San Francisco, he might have been awarded sainthood and given a key to the city. He knew he couldn't last in New Jersey, even though he hadn't committed a crime, unless the state Constitution had something in it about moral malfeasance. Two years before, Senator Torricelli dropped out of his New Jersey reelection race just five weeks before the vote because of "ethical problems."

Just last year, Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig actually pled guilty to soliciting homosexual hanky panky in an airport bathroom, then later amazingly tried to un-plead guilty, promised to resign from the Senate, then decided to stay on until the end of his term this year (probably that pension thing). The Senate can do nothing about it. After all, a homosexual committee chairman in the House, democrat Barney Frank, has been there forever, even through the sordidness of some sort of pimping shenanigan, apparently, that was operated from his house. There's no shame among these officials.

True to form, Spitzer, before admitting his moral failure, gave a recitation at the news conference of what a great public servant he had been in New York, where he had also served as attorney general with a penchant for trashing prostitution rings and slamming white-collar thieves, especially on Wall Street, where he was genuinely unloved. Perhaps the best he can hope for is a simple misdemeanor charge, if even that, but if the "transporting of a prostitute across a state-line" complaint stands as true, he's in deep trouble.

All of this pales into comparative insignificance when compared to the lurid antics of Bill Clinton, both while governor of Arkansas and as POTUS. He had the good fortune to hold national office during a time of great prosperity not of his own making but riding primarily on the huge impact of the age of technology. While he was playing around, the nation was sliding into the hands of such outfits as Al Qaeda. He finally paid off Paula Jones to the tune of $850,000 to go away, but Monica Lewinski, as well as Gennifer Flowers and her ilk, is his legacy.

Leadership marked by perversion cannot long endure, nor can a nation led by such practitioners of the pornographic and pusillanimous. Homosexuality is virtually glorified in parts of the society – even in many of its churches, notwithstanding that the military cannot abide it and it represents perverted lust and biological violation on a grand scale that has led to egregious societal dysfunctions. Women are sent into combat, a sure sign of either male emasculation or official co-ed idiocy among the solons, the sacrifice of the most vulnerable as the norm. Disgusting! These are just a few examples of the inner rot that is damning this nation, never mind its current military strength. The old Greeks and Romans learned…too late.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

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