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Republican arrogance and the ethics fiasco

Speaker Dennis Hastert and the U.S. House of Representatives finally came to their senses last week when they voted ‘ 406 to 20! ‘ to revert to their old ethics committee rules, effectively opening the way for an investigation into the alleged misconduct of Majority Whip Tom (‘The Hammer’) DeLay.
Last January, the House had the gall to change ethics committee rules to protect DeLay from an investigation. DeLay, a former bug exterminator, has been accused of taking overseas trips at the expense of foreign lobbyists, illegal fund-raising, and finding well-paid campaign work for his wife and daughter. Incredibly, DeLay had already been admonished several times for inappropriate behavior, but he didn’t get the message. He has denied any wrongdoing.
President Bush doesn’t seem to have a big problem with the Majority Whip or being seen in his company either. He praised his leadership abilities at a Social Security event in Galveston, and although they were not seen holding hands, Bush gave DeLay a well-publicized ride back to Washington, D.C., on Air Force One. Not exactly a reprimand.
Why are we not surprised?
Arrogance and hubris flourish these days in the majority party in Washington. We’ll not rehash the phoney reasons why we got into the war with Iraq or the make-believe ‘crisis’ with Social Security, or the gross intervention in the Terri Schiavo case.
Two other cases in point are these:
‘ Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist led the inexplicable and unjustifiable attack on Senators who had objected to a tiny fraction of Bush judicial nominees, charging that ‘people of faith’ were somehow being wronged. And the small number of nominees had highly questionable credentials. It’s the old red herring strategy: Distract people from the real issues by creating outrageous, phoney issues that distract undiscerning voters as well as the lazy, non-liberal media.
‘ Bush put forward a cynical diplomat who has no use for the United Nations to be our representative in that important, international body. How dumb do they think we are? Or are we just getting what we deserve?
One would hope that the Republican leaders in Washington might eventually get the idea that Congress should be a forum where smart people of integrity, stature, wisdom, experience, goodwill and foresight work together to enact legislation for the benefit of the country, not just their party or their own interests. Apparently that’s too idealistic and too much to ask, except in the House ethics case. Speaker Hastert, normally a stalwart Bushman, deserves a lot of credit for wanting to ‘move forward,’ ‘get this behind us’ and give DeLay a chance ‘to clear his name.’ Remember, the vote to return to the old ethics rules was 406-20. Hallelujah!
But the problem is not confined to Washington. Here in Indiana, we have a new governor, Mitch Daniels, a Princeton man who promised to make everything right. One of his first dramatic moves after taking office was to declare new ethical standards for government workers. One of the first people to break with the new rules was Mitch Daniels. He accepted the use of a $175,000 recreational vehicle to drive around Indiana for a year, and also accepted a ride on a banker’s jet plane to travel to Washington.
When asked about this, Daniels, a product of the Bush White House, said he almost resented questions about these ethical lapses because he was just accepting some help from good citizens who have stepped forward so he could do a better, more economical job as governor.
Hello. Anybody home? When will our Republican friends understand that the laws apply to all of us, not everybody except them? They are supposed to be providing leadership for all of us, not doing whatever they want because they won the last election.
The American public will put up with this kind of arrogance for only so long, and we’re getting the feeling that change is on the way. Bush’s falling approval rating is one good example.