Some thoughts and opinions on various and sundry topics …
Of all the bizarre stories of politicians and corruption probably the wackiest I have heard about is the story of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, a Democrat who had represented parts of New Orleans up until a couple of years back. Jefferson was recently convicted on 11 of 16 counts of taking bribes. Bribery among politicians is nothing new, and corruption among Louisiana political figures is the stuff of legend. No, it’s what then-Rep. Jefferson did with some of the cash for favors money he obtained. He stuffed it in his freezer. That’s right. When federal agents went to Jefferson’s home to investigate they found no less than $90,000 stuffed between the popsicles and ice cream. My guess is Jefferson was thinking to himself, “Even if I do get busted, who would ever think to look in the freezer for cash?”
The story didn’t say, but I am thinking some FBI agent needed a drink with ice.
Ranking right up there with Jefferson is what recently happened with Republican Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina. Talk about weird. The guy disappears on June 18 and doesn’t show up in South Carolina again until June 24, not letting anyone know where he was going or how he could be reached. On June 22, a spokesman for his office said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. Well, as it turns out the Appalachian Trail elevates to 30,000 feet from Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport to Buenos Aires. It was there Sanford camped out with his mistress, leaving his wife and son home for Father’s Day weekend.
This is a tragic and humiliating story for his wife, children, friends and staff. My heart goes out to his family. How a man with an ounce of integrity does not resign his post immediately upon getting back home is beyond my comprehension. What is most stunning (maybe it shouldn’t be anymore) to many is the fact that Sanford is a conservative Christian, for whom marriage and family usually rank right at the top of their priorities.
While what Sanford did is shameful, it is also very unseemly for those on the left to mock a situation where a family has been destroyed. No one should get pleasure from this sad story. No one should be happy that another Republican “family values” politician has shown himself to be a brazen hypocrite. As I have written here before, just because a Christian fails to live up to God’s standards does not negate the truth of those standards. ”Thou shall not commit adultery” would still be true even if the whole world cheated. Would we rather have politicians, Democrat or Republican, who don’t give a rip about family values?
If you define “family values” broadly to include the importance of marital fidelity and responsible parenting you have to say President Barack Obama is an example of a man with good family values. And this is coming from someone who can’t think of a handful of issues that I agree with him on in the political or public policy “family values” arena. But I do believe in giving credit where it is due.
Speaking of political hypocrisy, you know the Democrats have been saying that many in the town hall meetings about the proposed government health care program are organized protestors and not regular folks. Well, the Los Angeles Times website reported about President Obama’s recent “town hall” meeting at a northern Virginia community college: “This morning, the Washington Post is reporting that ‘of the seven questions the president answered, four were selected by his staff from videos submitted to the White House Web site or from those responding to a request for ‘tweets.’”
And the three audience members he called on randomly? The Post says “all turned out to be members of groups with close ties to his administration: the Service Employees International Union, Health Care for America Now, and Organizing for America, which is a part of the Democratic National Committee.”
No wonder he did not need a teleprompter at that meeting.
This whole issue has been managed wrong by the White House. Coming on the heels of several half-baked laws authorizing spending billions of dollars we borrowed from the Chinese – laws that the vast majority of congressmen and senators did not even bother to read – the idea of overhauling health care in America in a couple of months is insane. Staged or not, people are asking questions of congressmen at town hall meetings that they can’t answer. In many respects it’s a “I’ll get back with you later on the details” response from supporters of Obamacare.
Bottom line, it’s not flying.
Tim Wildmon is a community columnist who resides in Baldwyn. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.