Saturday, January 10, 2009

Political Turpitude

The quality of leadership in this nation, within the memory of this observer, is at its lowest point ever and that goes back a lot of decades. To the rest of the world's leaders, this must seem like the very best time to take exponential advantage of the U.S., since never have the elements of corruption and incompetence combined so forcefully to render the country susceptible to anything from gross trade imbalances (already a huge problem) to outright military/violent actions, for whatever reason.

Item: Since the democrats took over Congress (both houses) in 2007, the unemployment rate has soared from 4.6% to 7.2%, an increase of an astounding 57%, and millions of people have lost their homes largely because the Congress has totally ignored its oversight responsibilities. The incoming president speaks of spending $775 billion to rescue the nation, when any decent economist knows that this is folly, and the appropriate congressional committees have no clue as to the whereabouts of the $350 billion or so that has already been given away in the last few months, mostly to banks or mortgage outfits to help people who couldn't afford them in the first place save their home-investments.

The "Burris Affair" provides the latest example of political turpitude so disgusting that one feels unclean just reading about it. Senate Majority Leader Reid phones Illinois Governor Blagojevich to tell him who's acceptable for Obama's vacated position. Reid's been around long enough to know that his meddling puts him in "quid pro quo country" when he does that. This is the corrupt method used in governance in the appointment process and Blagojevich has a prize he figures is worth a lot and has already been considering – or will consider – a half-million-dollar offer from Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.'s people.

Federal prosecutor Fitzgerald, claiming to know that Blagojevich is a crook, is determined to stop him from making the appointment and blows the whistle, giving the guv's crookedness as his reason, in a press conference, besides arresting the governor, though charges have yet to be filed, not to mention an indictment accomplished. Question: Who gave Fitzpatrick either the power or the knowledge to know when a governor may or may not fulfill his duties under both the U.S Constitution and Illinois law with respect to filling a vacancy? The law is quite clear and says nothing about the fitness of a governor to obey it. Blagojevich obviously had a warm forehead, which is all that's required. Brains would be nice, but not necessary in politics.

Enter Illinois Attorney General Madigan, who has some hope of getting Obama's Senate seat, to apply to the Court to stop Blagojevich from making an appointment account his being a crook and therefore unfit, using Fitzgerald's actions as proof. She apparently knows that the governor will not appoint her, but that some governor might, especially since Reid approves of her. Enter the Illinois legislature in special session to consider changing the law so the governor can't appoint, but, fearing a republican might take the seat in a special election or in 2010 on the basis of such democrat skullduggery, decides not to change the law. Back to Square One, and the governor appoints Roland Burris, whose sterling credentials are already ensconced by himself in granite in the local cemetery.

Blown off by Blagojevich, Reid has already said that the congressional democrats will not seat anyone appointed by him, notwithstanding what the republicans might think (as they laugh themselves silly watching all of this). Enter Illinois State Secretary Jesse White to refuse to certify the appointment, thus nullifying it, whereupon Reid grabs this as his reason for not seating Burris when the new Congress convenes, thus making White the scapegoat. Out surfing in Hawaii, president-elect Obama has already made it clear publicly that anyone appointed by the governor must not be seated, since the guv is one bad dude and should not go around appointing people Obama doesn't want.

Re-enter the Illinois legislature, this time to impeach the governor, and in record time at that, not that this action affects the "Burris Affair," since it only leads to a trial in the Illinois Senate. Enter Burris to apply to the Court to force White to sign the certification only to have the Court rule that his signature was never necessary in the first place, thus leaving Reid and his deputy, Illinois Senator "Gitmo Dick" Durbin, with their chins on the floor, and egg on the rest of their dual face. So, unless these worthies can prove Burris has robbed a bank or something – and with little time to do it – old Roland can chisel U.S. Senator on his monument, perhaps with a caption such as "May a two-ton canary fly up your nose!"

In the economic mix are the two suspects chairing the main financial (especially oversight) committees in Congress, Representative Barney Frank, whose playmate once ran a pimp operation out of "their" apartment, and Senator Dodd, already besmirched by the largesse (ah...that VIP-discounted loan) gained from the now failed and disgraced Countrywide mortgage operation. It seems that neither is capable of more than the blather and bluster they've mounted up to this point. Lost balls in the tall weeds...and the nation suffers! And Dodd actually ran for the presidency last year! Egad!

The nation is enduring a low comedy possibly leading to tragedy in Washington. Its leaders fiddle while the flames leap. The incoming president has already set up office and started to run the country well ahead of when he actually can, making cabinet appointments, constantly making meaningless speeches, demanding that his legislation (whatever it is) be enacted upon arrival in Congress, and looking for a replacement for a cabinet appointee already lost account criminal investigations of his stewardship. My...how the mighty have fallen! Sad!

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

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