After a string of scandal stories, in which Democratic political figures have been accused or convicted of corruption, some Republicans are in an “I told you so” mood. That’s precisely the wrong response.
Political corruption knows no party bounds. An indictment is not cause for gloating, it’s a very public tragedy. Corruption is not the result of any political ideology, it’s the fruit of a person’s fallen nature — a nature we all share and must be on guard against in our own lives.
Columnist Michelle Malkin is one of those on the right celebrating Democrats brought low by scandal.
“Has Nancy Pelosi seen a newspaper lately?” Malkin asked. “I’d love to see her face in the wake of the veritable epidemic of Democratic corruption now sweeping the country. Pelosi’s blink count must be off the charts.”
She then presents a litany of losers — from California state Sen. Leland Yee, a gun control advocate busted for allegedly setting up arms deals, to Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Patrick Cannon, who is accused of accepting bribes for city contracts.
“The bust follows former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s conviction in January on corruption charges; former Trenton Mayor Tony Mack’s February conviction on taking cash bribes for a downtown parking garage; and former San Diego mayor and serial groper Bob Filner’s disgraceful resignation after conviction on sexual harassment-related charges; former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s conviction on extortion, bribery and conspiracy charges; and former Birmingham, Ala., Mayor Larry Langford’s corruption and bribery conviction,” she wrote.
Malkin then concludes gleefully, “Remember: Nancy Pelosi famously promised to ‘drain the moral swamp’ and end the culture of corruption.’ She cast herself and her minions as America’s political clean-up crew. But once again, the culture of corruption boomerang has swung back around to smack Democrats in their smug mugs. The cynical Swamp Drainers just hope you forget it all by election time. Don’t.”
Here’s what’s wrong with that.
First, corruption exists across the political spectrum. Today’s scandals mostly involve Democratic politicians. Tomorrow’s will assuredly involve Republicans. Here’s one that could break in the near future:
“Last summer, Virginia’s Gov. Bob McDonnell was a rising star in the GOP,” reported the Washington Examiner. “He was being vetted by Mitt Romney as a potential running mate. … Things are going downhill for the golden haired boy of the GOP. Recently it has come to light that McDonnell and his family accepted upward of $200,000 in cash handouts, extravagant gifts and so-called loans from a Virginia businessman who sought favorable treatment from the governor and the state for his supplement company.”
That’s just an example. The real point here is that corruption is a failure of character, not ideology.
Trying to tie corruption to a particular party’s ideology does a disservice to both parties. That was true when Pelosi spoke of the Republican “culture of corruption” and it’s true now as the GOP tries to make its own political hay.
That’s because it avoids the real debate — which policies are better? Corruption should never be celebrated, even when it’s the other side’s corruption.