Charter Member of the Sub-Media

April 13, 2005

A Few Points About Rep. DeLay (UPDATED) « Media Distortions »

I haven't investigated the alleged charges against Rep. Tom DeLay; people I respect say the charges are weak, probably not illegal or inethical, and most politicians do the same thing.

Here's the first example that last point is true.*

So regardless of what happens to Rep. DeLay in this, maybe the increased scrutiny of this issue may reduce this sort of behavior by politicians of all affiliations. That would be a good thing.

It seems rather politically naive of the Democrats to make this charge at this time, considering how many politicians do the same thing. It's almost like the Democrats are desperate to get any victory over a prominent Republican at just about any cost. That's not very wise, mature, or to their long-term benefit. Then again, I don't think I'd characterize many Democrats as being wise, mature, or concerned about long-term benefits at all, so I guess I'm not surprised.

Finally, it doesn't seem like anyone likes Rep. DeLay much. Not Ace, nor Right Wing Sparkle, just to name two.

And now we hear about Sen. Barbara Boxer and the inestimable Howard Dean.

Glass houses and all that, yo? Word.

*the article doesn't mention Rep. Sanders' affiliation in the first few paragraphs...but a quick Google search indicated he is an "independent", so that kinda makes some sense. Except that negative articles about Republicans always identify the politician as GOP as early and often as possible.

Posted by Nathan at 11:04 AM | Comments (2)

The difference is that the amount paid to Sander's relatives was appropriate to the work done: 15,000 a year for his daughter to work tirelessly on his campaign, and 30,000 for his wife's press services (that she normally charges more for, but gave her husband a discount).

DeLay was paying much more egregious amounts of money for much less transparent and questionable services.

As for why it matters? This is campaign money -- it's money raised from donors.

If I write a 100 dollar check to a campaign (Which is beyond my means as a starving college student, but take it as an example), I'd hope that out of gratitude for my support, and out of good ethical standards, I could feel confident that my 100 dollars wasn't just funneled towards paying for the candidate's daughter's new Mercedes.

That's why there is quite possibly (not for sure) an ethical issue in the DeLay case, but probably not in the Sander's case.

It's not that they were on the payroll, it's what they're supposedly getting paid for and how much.

And it's not a matter of the law, it's a matter of ethics. All sorts of unethical things are nonetheless legal, and it's fair game to criticize a public figure on those grounds.

Posted by: Joe at April 13, 2005 03:02 PM

Good points, but I have a few minor objections.

First, I'm not so sure Sanders got any more value for his money than DeLay did. "Consultation" by a spouse sounds cushy and unjustified if it isn't done by the best person on the market...and the nepotism of "hiring" a wife to do that seems suspect.

Second, these aren't public funds. It wasn't money from taxes, it was money from donations. Ethics? Last I saw, donations don't come with strings attached. It is money to help someone get elected, period. You can't complain if someone spends too much on air time as opposed to yard signs, or vice versa. Once that money is in his coffer, it's for whatever legal use his campaign deems necessary to get elected.

Far worse is when union dues go to sending union officials to bogus conferences and renting limousines and such. That happens all the time. Also far worse is when politicians use tax dollars for junkets that are more like vacations or political President Clinton and his officials taking more trips and spending more time away from DC, with larger entourages, than any other President in recent history. Or using overnight stays in the White House to raise re-election funds.

I'm reserving final judgment for some sort of actual illegal or inethical charge to come out, but I haven't seen one yet. It seems like Democrats are just calling whatever DeLay does 'inethical' and hoping that with enough accusations, people might start believing baseless accusations are justified.

Politics of Personal Destruction, indeed.

Posted by: Nathan at April 13, 2005 04:21 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?