This past week has brought increasing media attention to the GOP Gubernatorial race in Tennessee due to the views expressed by candidate Basil Marceaux. At first I was struck by the eccentricity of Basil Marceaux, however statements made by Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey on Islam quickly turned the attention in his direction. Read the rest of this entry »
This week, U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) was charged with 13 counts of ethics violations by a House subcommittee. Corruption is nothing new in politics, and the team at The Political Panorama decided to discuss the issue of ethics in politics.
I stated at my personal blog earlier this week that Charlie Rangel had to step down. However, ethics has very little to do with it. In fact, I think that there has been too much of an effort on “good government” in recent years. People say that they want to be able to “trust” the person that represents them. Well, would you trust someone that you do not know personally to, say, housesit for you or babysit your child? Of course not. So why do we ask that much more of our elected officials?
This week, there has been a media firestorm regarding the 90,000 documents that were previously marked “Classified.” They were leaked via the Internet and WikiLeaks.
Like many things, my thoughts are mixed on this. I totally understand and agree with national security. I read what I thought was a New York Times article about three weeks ago that said there were over 850,000 people in the United States with Top Secret Security Clearances. That’s nearly one in every 300 Americans. That’s a lot of people.
Our security should be one of our top priorities, but I would be interested in learning of a new approach of streamlining to know who has what types of security clearances. This would be a facinating report, and I hope that it’s already done and in the hands of the top Administration Officials.
I would like to hope though, in any leak of this kind, that there are serious considerations for the safety of those that could be in harms way if information is released. However, I think that as a country and nation, when things are declassified in a timely manner as they should (if it’s deemed safe) that we can learn from possible mistakes or missteps. I think this is an important piece of American history and the uniqueness of our political system.
I haven’t looked through, and honestly have no desire to go through the leaked documents. However, I hope that they were released with good intentions. Unfortunately though, why our security is so vulnerable is because of the amount of knowledge that one person possibly possesses, and if they wanted to use that information for harm, it could be done. Time, and the news media will tell us how “explosive” these documents are, and I hope the government is honest if they tell us that this leak has the potential to harm Americans at home and abroad.
That’s my two cents. What say you?
For those of you that do not know, that is a take from a headline in the Boston Globe in 1935. That year, the Alberta general election saw the Social Credit Party of Alberta rout the governing United Farmers of Alberta to the extent that the UFA was left without a seat in the upcoming Legislative Assembly. They would never return to government in Alberta, and left politics altogether; the UFA is now a major cooperative. Will something that epic happen in Colorado this year? No, of course not. However, it is pretty amazing to see the Republican Party completely implode in a race that was thought to be a likely flip.
U.S. Representative Charlie Rangel has had ethics questions following him for years. Numerous charges against him are currently being considered by the ethics committee generally involving accusations of illegal corporate gifts and contributions and not abiding by tax laws.
In March, he finally stepped aside from his powerful chairmanship on the House Ways and Means Committee. This was said to be temporary, though most agree it will be permanent.
In 2006, the Democrats campaigned against the Republicans’ deep culture of corruption. Since gaining control of Congress, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders have been slow at best when it comes to holding their own members accountable and keeping their campaign promises. Under her leadership, the handling of ethics problems has looked too much like hypocrisy.
If the Democrats are going to maintain any credibility and integrity, they must be quick to respond to ethics problems. That does not mean assuming guilt before it is proven, however they must take affirmative action to begin addressing the problems and get ahead of the story. This is aside from the fact that one person (Rangel) should not be so arrogant and obsessed with power that they are unable to do what is best for their country, party, and cause.
This failure of leadership should result in a new Democratic leadership that will provide experience, effectiveness, and accountability. As I have indicated before, I believe Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Harry Reid should be replaced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. James Clyburn, and Senator Chuck Schumer, respectively. If Democrats retain control of both houses in 2010 as I expect they will, they need to demonstrate they understand the public’s frustration and begin to address it by first selecting new leadership.
Elena Kagan is President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court. She is a former law school dean at Harvard and has served in the Clinton and Obama administrations. Her latest position is as Solicitor General for the Obama administration in which she argues cases before the Supreme Court. Unlike most recent Supreme Court nominees, Kagan does not have experience as a judge and she has been involved in some controversy. The writers at the Political Panorama weigh in on whether they feel Kagan will be confirmed and whether she should be confirmed.
I’m going to be moving on thin ice with this post. However, I feel that I must comment on the forced resignation and then reneging and apologizing to Shirley Sherrod.
She was an official in the Department of Agriculture. She spoke at a NAACP convention and a clip of her speech was released late last week. She was later forced to resign based on her statements, where she recalled a scenario where she didn’t want to help out a poor farmer because he was white. What isn’t shown is her followup statements where she said that she helped him and she realized there were essentially two types of people: those who were needy and those who weren’t.