November 16, 2006
Does Your Congressman Tolerate Corruption?

Thanks to Nancy Pelosi, many of us will be able to answer that question. If you are represented by a Democrat, and that Democrat votes to make John Murtha majority leader, then your congressman tolerates corruption. It's as simple as that.

In this area, for instance, David Postman reports that Norm Dicks and Jim McDermott intend to vote for the unindicted Abscam co-conspirator, so we can conclude that both congressmen tolerate corruption.

The test is, unfortunately, one-sided.  If a congressman does not vote for Murtha, then we can not conclude that he does not tolerate corruption, since he may have other reasons for voting against Murtha.

If Pelosi had not backed Murtha for the position, many Democratic congressmen would have been able to avoid taking a stand on Murtha, and so we can be grateful that she has given us this useful test.

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.

(Need a review on Murtha's flaws?  Here's one from the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus.   Marcus says she is puzzled by Pelosi's decision to back Murtha, but she would not be puzzled if she had read this 2002 post in which I argued that Pelosi is a typical machine politician, just like her father.  Machine politicians have never been much bothered by corruption.)

Posted by Jim Miller at November 16, 2006 07:22 AM | Email This
1. Yeah? but what about Mark Foley and Cunningham, and uhh... all those evil republicans, like Abramoff! So there! oh yeah and Haliburton and Dick Cheney, blah blah blah.

(Notice how I cleverly diverted attention from my own parties problems so that I don't have to actually address any issues with Murtha or anyone else..)

- Your friendly neighborhood democrat

Posted by: JustSumGuy on November 16, 2006 08:23 AM
2. Rush's satire on this yesterday was priceless.

Posted by: mark on November 16, 2006 08:31 AM
3. Fear not tradionalists, silence your tounge but not your passion. Now- we will see what tradegy they will lead us to.

The GOP lost it's way! War or no war the results of this election or similar future election were bound to happen.

Perhaps the virtues of smaller government, fiscal restraint, low taxes, and traditional values will once again become the mission of the GOP.

Posted by: Cardio on November 16, 2006 08:34 AM
4. politics as usual.

Posted by: Eric on November 16, 2006 08:46 AM
5. Murtha's background perhaps raises concerns, but we certainly haven't seen any such finger-wagging here about legislators who HAVE been indicted -- Cunningham, Delay, Abramoff, Ney, Libby, et al. Whence your newfound interest in legislative ethics, Jim?

Posted by: bartelby on November 16, 2006 08:49 AM
6. Don't leave out our own mom in tennis shoes, Patty Murray, and victorious Maria Cantwell. They just voted Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader, even as Reid is being investigated for corruption involving Indian gambling programs and pay-offs (er, donations) to politicians.

Political corruption knows no partisan lines.

Posted by: Joe Waldron on November 16, 2006 09:00 AM
7. Just on the news, Steny Hoyer elected as majority whip, right after Pelosi was elected Speaker and immediately formally nominated Murtha as whip. Hoyer and Pelosi have been at odds for approx. 40 years, so expect the trumpeted "unity" to be interesting. And we thought our R's were disjointed!!!

Posted by: katomar on November 16, 2006 09:01 AM
8. "Murtha's background perhaps raises concerns, but we certainly haven't seen any such finger-wagging here about legislators who HAVE been indicted -- Cunningham, Delay, Abramoff, Ney, Libby, et al. Whence your newfound interest in legislative ethics, Jim?"

How many of those are still serving in Congress? Unlike the criminal Democrats WIlliam Jefferson and Abscammer John Murtha who get reelected time after time, Republicans kick their crooks to the curb. Democrats embrace them. That's the difference.

Posted by: pbj on November 16, 2006 09:12 AM
9. I couldn't believe it but last night Colmes and another D flunky were hammering Michael Reagan on this very issue. Colmes, obviously the recipient of late arriving talking points, said Murtha was not corrupt and was not convicted. Therefore, he was clean.

I hate the idea of these politicians using family members for high paying lobbyist jobs and the use of family members for high paying jobs with their own reelection campaigns.

Harry Reid for one, and if the nutroots are to be believed, Hastert has several kids in lobbyist positions. Legal? Yes, but ....

Posted by: swatter on November 16, 2006 09:20 AM
10. bartelby. When was Abramoff a legislator? You also left off Clinton. Libby's is obvious BS, given the real 'leaker' has been identified. But unlike the D's the R's leave even when innocent.

Posted by: Right said Fred on November 16, 2006 09:22 AM
11. Vote's in - Murtha lost big.

Posted by: Steve (was Steve_Dog) on November 16, 2006 09:24 AM
12. ...Unlike the criminal Democrats WIlliam Jefferson and Abscammer John Murtha...

You forgot Alcee Hastings, the federal judge impeached for bribery who is now probably going to head up the House Intelligence Committee.

Posted by: Mike H on November 16, 2006 09:24 AM
13. It's interesting how when the corrupt republicans are ruling, we don't hear you start blogs about any of them. Instead, you attack the people that want to bring them down. Now that the corrupt politicians are not in power, you attack the ones that are. "Hello, Pot? Yes, this is kettle...My oh my, you're looking quite black today". Grow up chldren. When you can start looking beyond elephant and donkey, you'll be able to notice a whole lot more. Truly sad that people who are educated enough to use a computer can't understand a simple concept like that.

Posted by: michaelUW on November 16, 2006 09:31 AM
14. michaelUW - please point us to your blog where you routinely out liberal corruption.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on November 16, 2006 09:40 AM
15. I was asked why I had not criticized legislators "Cunningham, Delay, Abramoff, Ney, Libby".

If you look up on the right side, you will see that I have my own blog, "Jim Miller on Politics", which is where I discuss national and international issues (and from time to time post pictures of mountains, especially vocanoes). I would not have put this post up here at Sound Politics, if it were not for the connection to Congressman Dicks and Congressman McDermott.

When Cunningham resigned, I mentioned it at my site, and approved, though I thought the whole thing a terribly sad thing to happen to such a war hero.

I have criticized DeLay at my own site, though I doubt that he is guilty of the current charges.

Abramoff is not a legislator and is on his way to jail. There are reports that he will implicate a number of Democratic senators in wrong doing, including the Democratic leader, Harry Reid.

Ney is in jail or on his way there, and rightly so.

I don't recall discussing either Abramoff or Ney at my site. I only have so much time, and didn't think that I had anything to add to the stories available in the "mainstream" media.

Libby, assuming you mean Lewis Libby, is not a legislator. On the basis of the evidence publicly available, I think he is almost certainly innocent of the charges he is facing.

If Cunningham, Ney, or Abramoff were up for House leadership positions, I would condemn any congressman, Republican or Democrat, who voted for them. What interests me about this current dispute is how many Democrats refuse to take that same stand, including Congressman Dicks and Congressman McDermott.

Finally, I appreciate your tacit agreement with my main point, that voting for Murtha as majority leader demonstrates a tolerance for corruption.

Posted by: Jim Miller on November 16, 2006 09:40 AM
16. in honor of an innocent man in the spotlight:
"if the glove don't fit, ya can't convict"

Pelosi & Murtha family members: "we're not amateur hobbyists--we're legit lobbyists"

Jefferson: if the money ain't chilt, ya can't prove guilt.

(and the ever-famous finger pointing in TV camera shtick) "i-did-not-take-cash-from-that-FBI-agent!"
..and so it goes...microscopes only work on "R" specimens. Dems--swiftboats are only attack vessels, right? they carry NO truth in their holds? come on.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on November 16, 2006 09:46 AM
17. They absolutely tolerate corruption to protect their party. That's the major difference between the 2 parties. Our guys resign or are removed, their guys are excused as the dippy uncle on the goofy side of the family to be tolerated and invited to family functions.

The democrats major strength is the way they stick together as a group despite their individual opinions whereas we are proud that we have independent thinkers who are propelled by their individual values... much to our own detriment at times (hello John McCain and your gang of 14). Our strengh (independent action on values) is also our weakness as we've seen these last few years under Frist.

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskold on November 16, 2006 09:54 AM
18. michaelUW,
You do have a point there are a certain number of people in both parties who have a very plastic sense of indignation. In other words they have no principles.

Personally I would like to see anyone involved in and convicted of graft publicly hanged, regardless of Party affiliation, but that is unlikely to happen.

IMHO Democrat supporters are more likely to look the other way because of the sense of entitlement that has been inculcated through the Democrat Party's incessant reliance on "the politics of envy" but Republican supporters are not imune from it.

Posted by: JDH on November 16, 2006 09:56 AM
19. It's funny how the dems always say it's a witch hunt in going after their crooks, while they trump up little things like former speaker Newt writing a book. Perhaps Hillary could explain how that's an ethical problem.
But in the who's who of dirty, good golly look in our own back yard. The libs scream bloody murder about screening who's calling terrorists but McD had some phone conversation on tape at one time and...we know the rest of the story.
He gets re-elected too.
How's Rostenkowski these days? Stealing government property doesn't get you much in the press these days but saying Macawcaw (sp?) will get you ink by the barrels.
Dems = circle the wagons on crime.
GOP seems to throw the accused to the system and face the music.
If libs walked the talk, Gore would be in a Prius, Pelosi's hospitality biz would be union and Hillary would come clean on the fbi files and who was on that health care panel anyways?

Posted by: PC on November 16, 2006 09:59 AM
20. Looks like Nancy Pelosi didn't get her way. Hoyer beat Murtha for Majority Leader by 60% of the vote. Maybe now he'll redeploy to Okinawa.

Posted by: Pete on November 16, 2006 10:03 AM
21. I have an idea! ALL GOP politicians who accept bribes or yield to blackmail... GONE! Then maybe we can have America back.

Posted by: Jean on November 16, 2006 10:26 AM
22. "Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people." GWB March 17, 2003

Maybe he meant Chevron
CVX March 14, 2003 at $32.63 a share
CVX November 15, 2006 at $70.31 a share

Go ahead and partisanize ad nauseam, but while hunting squirrel there is bigger game waiting.

Maybe the best thing that could happen would be for the NeoGOP to completely implode and be forced to rebuild itself as the party it told me it wanted to be when I was a young man.

Posted by: ben on November 16, 2006 10:43 AM
23. Jean, have you been reading anything on this thread? GOP policicians who accept bribes or yield to blackmail ARE, as soon as it is discovered, gone. I would agree with you 100% if you had said all politicians and not mentioned party. However, there are so many documented corrupt Dem politicians elected and re-elected, and they're not going anywhere. They are welcomed back into the fold, or never kicked out. Today's example is self-proclaimed "cleaner" Pelosi nominating Murtha and planning to appoint Alcee Hastings.

Posted by: katomar on November 16, 2006 10:49 AM
24. Pelosi's got ethical skeletons in her closet, too...see "Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard."

Posted by: Heartless Libertarian on November 16, 2006 10:51 AM
25. The whole article below can be googled by typing in "House G.O.P. Voids Rule" ... it's the first hit on the list. I wonder if the Dems will ever get as creative as this. I particularly like the last paragraph below. I wonder if Mr. Miller remembers that one.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 - Stung by criticism that they were lowering ethical standards, House Republicans on Monday night reversed a rule change that would have allowed a party leader to retain his position even if indicted.

Lawmakers and House officials said Republicans, meeting behind the closed doors of the House chamber, had acted at the request of the House majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay, who had been the intended beneficiary of the rule change.

When they rewrote party rules in November, Republicans said they feared that Mr. DeLay could be subjected to a politically motivated indictment as part of a campaign finance investigation in Texas that has resulted in charges against three of his associates. The decision, coupled with other Republican proposals to rewrite the ethics rules, drew fierce criticism from Democrats and watchdogs outside the government, who said the Republican majority was subverting ethics enforcement.

Lawmakers said the party had also abandoned a proposed ethics change that would have effectively eliminated the broad standard that lawmakers not engage in conduct that brings discredit on the House, a provision that has been the basis for many ethics findings against lawmakers.

Posted by: eckto on November 16, 2006 10:58 AM
26. Sad...

Apparently all republicans and all democrats are corrupt. All politicians are corrupt.

Sad...but true

Posted by: Tom Dougline on November 16, 2006 11:22 AM
27. A culture of corruption! And they haven't even begun the next congress!

Posted by: Michele on November 16, 2006 11:26 AM
28. so Ben--building wealth is evil? weak american companies are good for us? would you prefer to have foreign companies flourish over our companies?

what "evil" stocks do YOU have in your little retirement fund or 401(k)? gee--shoe's on other foot when YOUR land value, house and investments are bouyed by the economy. will you give the 'excess' of your PERSONAL 'profits' back to the poor over some pre-determined "fair return" that you "deserve?"

walk the talk. many of the newly-elected Dems are quite wealthy themselves & structure their wealth WAAAY better than you could to minimize taxes. so much for the 'little guy'--i don't see them volunteering to pay more tax each year.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on November 16, 2006 11:27 AM
29. eckto - the way I understand it is that the Rs wanted to reduce the standard to that of the Ds, but that little point is usually missed.

The reason that this was being considered is that two bit twerp in TX pushing the Ds dirty work through one grand jury after another until he got the desired result. Does that fit under the banner "Culture of Corruption"?

Posted by: Right said Fred on November 16, 2006 11:47 AM
30. So Ben

What is Chevron's Net Profit Margin, ROI, Capital Investment, and Total Tax Dollars Paid?

Maybe after the lunch rush that keeps you busy at McDonald's you can tell us.

Posted by: swassociates on November 16, 2006 12:01 PM
31. Ben at 22: So... Boeing stock, where I happen to work... was around 26 after 9-11. It's now close to 89. Is that some evil Republican plot too? Tinfoil must be cheap these days, 'cause there's a lot of people wearing it on their head.

Posted by: Tucker on November 16, 2006 12:48 PM
32. and Ben, both sides should not like corruption if they profess to have any integrity.

R or D, go down hard if wrong & convicted. it still boggles my mind when the likes of a Hastings or a re-elected DC mayor can keep their job after corruption/lawbreaking. they pontificate in the Cong. Records to us about ethics and yet are compromised.

the private sector fires people for much less. even a poorly-placed anti-diversity comment--much less blowing dope or stealing money.

as to your corporate anti-wealth bugaboo, how do weak or heavily-taxed companies help you? they lay off people. no one wants to invest in them. they raise prices. reduce services or products. unhealthy insurance companies reduce claims paid to victims or drop coverages. sickly companies limp along and do not offer job security to workers. less wages/taxes collected reduce your community's tax revenues and its services.

like the libs love to say about environment "we're all connected"

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on November 16, 2006 01:06 PM
33. I heard the other day that the vineyards Pelosi and her husband own have illegal aliens working in them (which is common, even in other industries) and worse (at least in dems' eyes) THEY ARE NON-UNION!

Posted by: Michele on November 16, 2006 01:10 PM
34. .,.and don't forget all the years of corruption and scandal in the Clinton adminstration

Posted by: Michele on November 16, 2006 01:11 PM
35. Jimmy-howya, your words hit like being thumped on the chest at the same time. Or maybe a
Bobby Knight "do I have your attention" bump on the chin.
I wonder why the anti capitalizm crowd has no problem ponying up 75 bucks to see some idiot like babs Streisand or Rosie O'd on the stage and listening to them bad mouth the american way? Somebody is making a bunch of money for a couple hours work there.

Posted by: PC on November 16, 2006 01:37 PM
36. thanks, PC.

funny, all the rich lib America haters or corporate haters seem to be based here in big CA estates & invest largely here. why not live/invest in Algeria or Brussels? dont like the "progressive" (confiscatory) Euro taxes or other country's freedoms? hmmm.

forget their words. the rich vote with their $. as for hollywood, WE ask & pay for their services, so it's our desire & i have to be consistent & support their wealth quest, however overpaid i think they are. no one is forcing us to buy their stuff.

personally, to follow a socialist view of "worth," i'd gladly like to see a neurosurgeon or burn unit nurse at a kid's hospital be rich as Babs or Rosie for "value added" to society--help & heal vs. standing on a stage like a parrot/monkey.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on November 16, 2006 02:30 PM
37. To Fred in 29 - That's one way to look at it, but Tom Delay has bigger problems than Texas DA Ronnie Earle. Federal prosecutors have let Delay's good buddies Tony Rudy and Michael Scanlon plea out. Once Ed Buckham pleas out, Delay's lawyers will be negotiating with the Feds for a merciful prison sentence. Unfortunately, I'm not making any of this up. Jack Abramoff will be an equal opportunity menace for Republicans, Democrats and the White House itself ... but the Republicans are off to a fast start and it may be hard to keep up.

Posted by: eckto on November 16, 2006 02:41 PM
38. By attaching chevron's success to Bushco policy I somehow hate wealth in general and boeing individually? And America and my 401k? Good grief! (you won't just pull the ball away again Lucy?) Please illustrate for me where I left that barn door open and left the assumptions to run wild? Sorry I screwed that one up gang, help a friend out.

Posted by: ben on November 16, 2006 03:13 PM
39. Ben,

So you can parrot stock prices. Yay for you! Now, please tell me where in Iraq Chevron has invested or installed infrastructure.

Chevrons stock valuation wouldn't have anything to do with their investment into tapping Central Asian resources, would it now? Of course not! IT MUST BE IRAQ! IRAQ IS THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WITH SIGNIFICANT PETROLEUM RESERVES! CHIMPYBUSHHITLER AAAAAARGH!!!


Posted by: Aaron on November 16, 2006 10:49 PM
40. Aaron - Chevron is the only oil company in the world that can count the former U.S. national security adviser and current secretary of state as a former director. What are the odds?

Posted by: ben on November 17, 2006 11:45 AM
41. Ben--put another way, the implication or innuendo that the Chevron stock price rise is somehow "evil" is analogous to selective abortions.

do you advocate torpedoing certain (your favored) industies while letting others thrive? sounds communistic, unfair & an abuse of government power.

who should "live?" who should die? certainly not banks, insurance and gun manufacturers? sounds like the government banning of evil trans fats. in short--dangerous interference.

the point is, "evil cabal" talk ignores our economy's workings. when liberal administrations are in & the market jumps up, where is the evil cabal/conspiracy talk? markets work in cycles. and sometimes cycles are long or multi-years.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on November 17, 2006 12:31 PM
42. Okay, let's see: Tom DeLay's indictments have no bearing on his followers in Congress, who even relaxed our House's ethics rules to keep him in power. Meanwhile, someone who was not even indicted is so corrupt that anyone who votes for him is tainted. Pick a story and stick with it, folks; your opportunistic flip-flopping just humiliates you. It also reveals how unqualified you are to lecture the rest of us on morality, but we all know that you will never let that slow you down, let alone stop you.

Posted by: Paddy Mac on November 18, 2006 02:43 PM
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