Monday, October 26, 2009


Virtue and integrity is not the sole provenance of either political party. In fact corruption is endemic to both political parties and to root it out is one of the biggest problems facing us as a free society.

Many politicians campaign on the excesses of corporations and its executives, claiming that they are “ripping off” the public by reaping excessive profits or earning obscene salaries. In some cases, those claims are correct, but when the accusers (the politicians) are scrutinized, they come out just as corrupt as the people they are condemning in the corporate world.

Many career politicians start out their political careers as reformers of the status quo and end up as millionaires many times over, even by earning a modest salary as an elected official. It’s not supposed to be that way, but power has a tendency to corrupt and politicians seem to be one group that is most vulnerable. It happens on all levels of government, local, state and federal, and many times the corruption is overlooked because of politics. Neither party in power wants to “air its dirty linen” by exposing their fellow politicians as being corrupt. It might just open up a “can of worms” that might just touch them in return. Is that being too cynical?

For instance, right here in Palm Beach County, within the past few years, three commissioners have been convicted of crimes and are now serving time in prison. All three just happened to be Republicans. Just recently, arrests have been made in Broward County whereby some Democrats have been charged with corruption. Some cynics say that local politicians should be limited to two terms, one in office and one in prison. That’s a funny line, but sad at the same time.

Corruption will probably be with us till the end of time, but we could and should try to control its tentacles so that it stays the exception rather than the rule. Some people claim that entrenched politicians are more prone to become corrupt because of the power they exert by being prime targets for the graft that is offered to them by special interests wanting special treatment.

Some people claim that “term limits” is one means of reducing the opportunity of politicians being tempted to take bribes or of getting favorable treatment while in office or when they leave office. The argument against instituting term limits is that we already have a remedy – it’s called elections. Yes, in a fantasy world, that’s the most effective way of trying to keep politicians honest, but in the real world, incumbents win 90% of elections and as a result become bolder and more entrenched as a result and the circle of corruption continues on its merry way.

Another area of ridiculousness is in the area of “self-policing” by the politicians themselves. In 2006, when the Democrats won majorities in the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi said that she would “rule”, as Speaker, over the most honest Congress ever. Has she succeeded in carrying out that pledge? Not quite! The impotent “Ethics Committee” has quite a few names of Congressmen under investigation, but nothing has been done. Some egregious charges have been filed against Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Ca.), Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), Rep.Charlie Rangel (D-NY), to name just some of the most prominent. Charges have lingered, in some cases, for some time, even years. How come? Do you think politics have played a part in this inaction? Of course!

The Senate Ethics Committee has also been busy investigating their “own”, such as Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) for getting “sweetheart” mortgages from their bank, Countrywide Mortgage. After a “thorough” investigation and testimony from people who actually negotiated with these senators to give them the “V.I.P” deals, the Ethics Committee found “insufficient” evidence to punish them. Do you think that the members of the ethics committee might be afflicted with the malady called CRI (Cranial Rectal Inversion)? You make the call.

So yes, a “pox on both political parties” as they go merrily on their self-serving pandering ways to enrich themselves both financially and politically. Maybe we need a “real change” in Washington? Right here in Palm Beach and Broward counties, we have two fresh faces running for Congress, they are Allen West in the 22nd C.D., and Ed Lynch in the 19th C.D. Both are non-lawyers which are a main plus in judging whether they would make an honest, hard-working Congressman with experiences other than the legal profession. We need to clean house in 2010 and bring back some integrity to that august body. Bringing back the same old, same old Congressmen just won’t do it, that’ll be “real change” you can believe in.

Written by Chuck Lehmann

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1 comment:

Bryant Wasdell said...

To show the hypocrisy of the Democrat politicians, they will try to pass any (whether good or bad) kind of health care plan because they have put themselves in box and they don't know how to get out except by passing a flawed health care plan. The public be damned. All this was orchestrated by the "Three Stooges" Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. We've got to throw the rascals out and clean house. Yes, I agree, a pox on all their houses including the White House (is it racist to call it a White House?).