12/01/2005: Thought for the Day:
Today's Wall Street Journal editorial page title damns all to hell Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., who yesterday pleaded guilty to taking bribes from defense contractors and resigned from Congress (see "Duke of the Beltway," Nov. 29).
Two-thirds of the way through its spanking of Cunningham the Journal reaches back 16 years to assert a moral equivalence between him and Jim Wright, the disgraced speaker of the House who was driven from office in 1989 by his own scandal. The page writes:
Mr. Cunningham's graft doesn't mean that all Republicans are corrupt, any more than former Speaker Jim Wright's machinations meant all Democrats were on the take.The peculiar juxtaposition of "Cunningham's graft" to "Wright's machinations" suggests that the two pols' misdeeds are somehow equivalent. But comparing Cunningham's offenses to Wright's is like comparing a Brink's job with the looting of a Pez dispenser. Cunningham confessed to "evading taxes and conspiring to pocket $2.4 million in bribes, including a Rolls-Royce, a yacht and a 19th-century Louis-Philippe commode," as the Washington Post reports today. He faces 10 years in prison.
Wright, on the other hand, made a sweetheart deal with a printer to publish a book of speeches that netted him $55,000. Wright wrongly lobbied the savings and loan regulators to go easy on two bank owners who ultimately went to prison for, among other things, fraud. Wright's printer buddy put wife Betty Wright on the payroll where she did little or no work. These transgressions and others committed by Wright never translated into jail time. So, where's the equivalence? Why bring Wright up now? Does the page have a guilty conscience about its central role in toppling him?
Len on 12.01.05 @ 07:36 AM CST