Saturday, October 14, 2006

The difference between Democrats and Republicans on corruption.

After posting two consecutive stories on corrupt Republicans, I checked the news again and discovered this story, about William Jefferson, the Louisiana Democratic congressman who is being investigated by the FBI and who was found to have $90,000 in cash in his freezer:

Jefferson loses endorsement of Democratic Party.

BATON ROUGE, La. - An eight-term Democratic Louisiana congressman whose Capitol Hill office was raided earlier this year as part of a bribery investigation failed Saturday to win the endorsement of the state's Democratic Party.

Rep. William Jefferson was passed over by the party's State Central Committee in favor of state Rep. Karen Carter.

Of course House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had earlier this year tried to strip Jefferson of his committee assignments, sending a clear message that she won't put up with any of this. This stands her in sharp contrast to Dennis Hastert.

Further, Republicans in Texas had no problem with handing Tom DeLay victory in his primary (though it backfired on DeLay as he fumbled his resignation a month later and has all but handed the seat to Democrat Nick Lampson). Republicans in Ohio willingly renominated Bob Ney even though by the May primary he was already hip deep in corruption. The result looks like it may be another Democratic pick-up for Zack Space because of Ney's backing for his handpicked successor as GOP nominee. Republicans here in my district in Arizona willingly renominated my own ethically challenged Congressman, Rick Renzi. A poll out this week by majority watch shows Renzi four points behind Ellen Simon.

Contrast that to ethically challenged Democratic congressmen. The Democratic voters in Georgia fired Cynthia McKinney earlier this year, and now it looks like the Democratic party in Louisiana is getting ready to fire William Jefferson (In Louisiana they have an open primary; Carter and Jefferson are among a number of candidates who will appear on the ballot. If no one wins a majority, which seems likely, there will be a runoff in December between the top two. Carter will have the full support of the party organization both during the November election and the runoff.)

So the bottom line is this: Democrats are proving through the actions of our voters, our House leadership and our state parties that we don't tolerate corruption and we are willing to police ourselves. Would you rather have Democrats running things or count on Republicans who don't seem to be able to part with a corrupt congressman until literally the day when he is driven from office by the criminal justice system?


Chuck said...

Good posts and good points Eli.

That Simon Renzi race- like you said 4% at RT Strategies (I don't remember the MoE) and I think that's a huge improvement from last month. Wasn't it something like Simon behind nearly 10 points?

I looked and can't find where I saw them (I've been concentrating on the Senate races), but I remember two polls (both of which I believe ended on 10/13) showing either 5 or 6 points ahead for Simon, so this lead is looking solid. Again, I don't remember MoE, but you have to remember that even with that the candidate that's behind has to gain more ground unless its one heck of a fluke. With three I doubt it.

I just re-read this and it sounds confusing, but I'm tired. ;) You get what I mean anyway.

Craig said...

In a way, I feel sorry for Rep. Jefferson.

In a non-election year, or even in one that didn't have corruption as a major issue, the Dems (both in the House leadership and at home in Louisiana) might have let his issues shake out a little before dropping the hammer on him. They would have at least waited for an indictment.

But not this year.

While I don't think that Nancy Pelosi and the other Dem leaders knew about Foley beforehand, they knew *something* was going to happen before the election; it was inevitable that yet another Republican was going to get caught doing something and there was going to be a big stink.

Even bigger than the stink over Abramoff.

So they prepared. They knew that when the time came, they would have to hammer any of their own who stepped over the ethical line. They had to hold their own to the same standards that they're holding the Reps to.

And Rep. Jefferson had the bad luck to get caught in this environment.

BTW - Great post.


Eli Blake said...


I think you are somewhat correct as far as Jefferson is concerned, but keep in mind that McKinney was voted out by the rank and file voters in the primary there. That was a 'bottom up' removal that the ordinary Democrats in her district carried out. That stands in sharp contrast to the Republican voters who renominated DeLay. And he did have a credible primary opponent. Renzi did not-- but then again, the local Republicans here are apparently satisfied enough with Rick that no one has filed to run against him in the primary.