Democrats took control of the House in 2006 and the White House in 2008 by successfully painting the Republican majority as a "Culture of Corruption."
Will voters now hold Democrats to the same standard as an even worse culture of corruption unfolds among Democrats?
To kick off the Culture of Corruption campaign against the Republicans, on January 18, 2006, Nancy Pelosi gathered Democratic House leaders for a press conference in the Thomas Jefferson building of the Library of Congress to declare "Independence from special interests" and "an end to the Republican culture of corruption."
Pelosi charged that the Republican House majority had "turned Congress into an auction house–for sale to the highest bidder", vowed to end "the K Street project" and to lead the effort "to turn the most closed, corrupt Congress in history into the most open and honest Congress in history."
Pelosi went on to specifically vow that she would "end ‘dead of night’ special interest provisions that turn bills into special interest giveaways" and that "lawmakers must have the opportunity to read every bill before they vote on it. It’s common sense."
She further vowed to "prohibit cronyism on key appointments by making sure any individual appointed to a position has proven credentials" and demanded "strong (ethics) enforcement, with an active and functioning Ethics Committee."
Pelosi concluded the press conference flatly promising "With this agenda, Democrats will create the most open and honest government in history, and put power back where it belongs — in the hands of all the people".
Nearly four years later, power flows to more lobbyists than ever, thousand-page plus bills are not made available for anyone to read before they’re voted on and special interest amendments festoon these bills like ornaments on the White House Christmas tree. More than 30 "czars" (too many of them radical leftists) are appointed with no "proven credentials".
The President shakes down Wall Street for campaign contributions as a "thank you" present (as the New York Times put it) for the big bailouts. Candidate Obama repeatedly said, "I’m the only candidate who doesn’t take money from corporate PACs and lobbyists," but he really never bought the Pelosi "corruption" rhetoric.
On October 1, 2007, candidate Obama spent three hours in person and in a video conference in the Miami offices of Greenberg Traurig with employees and partners of this billion dollar law and lobbying firm once associated with Jack Abramoff. Obama raised $125,000 from the firm that year.
Charlie Rangel claims ignorance on taxes owed on rental income, even as he writes tax law for the House. On Pelosi’s orders, the Ethics Committee ignores Charlie’s lapses and refuses to hold hearings or investigate. Charlie keeps his chairmanship. He does not resign as Tom DeLay did.
"Turbo Tax" Tim Geithner claims ignorance on taxes not paid he previously acknowledged in writing he would pay. Tim becomes the Treasury Secretary.
The revolving door of executives from “too big to fail” companies into the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve and then back out to jobs and big bonuses in the firms they “regulated” stinks of corruption.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid holds days of closed door meetings with two other Democrat Senators and Rahm Emanuel from the White House to secretly write the health "reform" bill. A "dead of night" amendment at Reid’s request immunizes only his state of Nevada from increased costs associated with the "reform" bill’s expansion of Medicaid.
“The Most Honest and Open Government” sounded good, but calling Reid, Pelosi, and Obama’s actual practices the most open and honest is a whole lot like saying that Tammany Hall represented good government for the citizens of the City of New York!
To be sure the GOP has had its problems with corruption; but for every Jack Abramoff there is a Jack Murtha. For Every Duke Cunningham, there is a William Jefferson (D-La.) with a freezer full of cold hard cash. Where’s the promised clean, honest, and open government ?
For Nancy Pelosi’s 2006 assertion to ring true one would have to see the pool of lobbying and pay-for-play money dry up. The number of registered lobbyists has increased since Obama’s inauguration to over 18,000 and campaign contributions to both parties are coming in like there is no recession.
It is not for nothing that Washington, D.C. has a 6% unemployment rate and the Washington Times regards the Beltway as the new ‘it’ town when it comes to being young, rich and beautiful. These are not the best and brightest, they are the bought and paid for — and they are buying and selling you, on behalf of the Pelosi, Rangel, Geithner, Reid, Obama regime.
Lest I be labeled a naked partisan, let me give some credit to Obama, who was correct when he said in 2006, “"Freedom today is in jeopardy it is being threatened by corruption. Corruption is not a new problem…it is a human problem.” Obama was right. But when he uttered those words he was speaking to students at the University of Nairobi about their country, Kenya. Sadly those words now apply to Obama’s America.
It is a shame the President and the Democrat congressional leadership has come up so short for those who voted to see hope and change but who instead have experienced being short changed by the new culture of corruption.
Will American voters hold the Democrats accountable in 2010 ? Will the Republicans offer an alternative or show any sign that they have learned their lesson?