It's fine to be mad at imbeciles like Dodd and Conrad, and that whole incestuous bunch on Capitol Hill, but leave some anger for your fellow citizens, who keep electing these finks and who yesterday left work early, hoping to catch a glimpse of a millionaire change his shirt.
Gosh, what a surprise: A committee of their fellow senators has decided that Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad did nothing unethical when they took out loans from Countrywide Financial on the kind of favorable terms not available to us mere mortals without their financial or political standing – or a personal connection to the head of Countrywide.
The very Select Committee on Ethics did recognize that the whole deal looked bad, and gave its colleagues a gentle pat on the wrist for creating "the appearance that you were receiving preferential treatment based on your status as a senator." But in the end one hand washed the other, if not very well.Something else seems to have escaped these two U. S. senators – namely, that they are U.S. senators. Which means their getting a loan at a preferential rate through the head of a corporation like Countrywide, which was very much dependent on favorable treatment by the government before it came crashing down at great expense to the taxpayers, is quite different from a private citizen’s getting a mortgage at the same preferential rate.
Why? Because the private citizen is in no position to return the favor through political influence. Which is why the ethical standards expected of public officials are higher. Or at least should be. That crucial distinction used to be well understood. I’m not so sure it is now.
19 August 2009
Preference: Not For Little People Like You
Hope and Change; what a slogan that was in the day: