Political commentator and strategist James Carville said last week that his party – The Democratic Party – was in a ‘bad streak.’ Carville didn’t mean that his party was in any way in a losing streak, he was referring to the scandals that have sprouted up quite recently.
It was only three years ago that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Washington were calling for a house cleaning due to Republican excesses. They got that house cleaning. They won both houses of congress. They won governorships. They won city seats in cities all over the country. Now, they have a trend of corruption. None of this leads to the White House, in fairness. But it does make a party that made its bones on being more responsive, more ethical, and anti-war look as though it couldn’t accomplish any of the three.
There may be another to way see this trend, however. Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon was indicted on 12 counts last week for taking gifts from a developer that had business with her city. Maverick New York Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio was caught taking $500,000 in bribes in an FBI sting. Bill Jefferson, the congressman from Louisiana’s 2nd congressional district was famously caught with money stashed in his freezer. Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, did not accept the new president’s appointment to Secretary of Commerce, due to pay to play dealings in his state.
The fact that these are all Democrats is not too relevant – unless you want to gauge the lack of outrage by Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Think about this, all of these people, and many of the other scandalous politicians (Rod Blagojevich-Illinois and Elliot Spitzer-NY) are from districts, states, and cities that are considered politically safe for them. In other words, Mayor Dixon would have little, if any, competition from the Baltimore Republican Party. Anthony Seminerio had a job for life in his district. The man that defeated Bill Jefferson, Anh "Joseph" Quang Cao, is a Vietnamese immigrant that would never have beaten Jefferson without a pending scandal.
The point is, these seats are too safe and there is a lack of checks and balances. Spitzer got elected governor of New York with great ease – that might have been the problem. Where there is no two party presence, there is a recipe for wrong doing. It works both ways. Look at the corruption that the GOP had is Alaska. Alaska was safe ground for Republicans, and former Governor Murkowski knew it. The FBI didn’t quite get to the northern tundra to clean that up, but there was a hockey mom that thought it was time for a change.