Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Large, Sunny Crucifix for Rent

There's a large sunny crucifix to rent in Albany, formerly occupied by a Democratic governor who has been forced to make a quick exit, and less than a month after he published a scathing indictment, in The Washington Post, of the Bush administration's collaboration in predatory lending practices.

The wolves of Wall Street won't be among the only ones to celebrate the public humiliation, and the high price he's had to pay in the name of sin which has surpassed any endurance test in this country of the Puritans, by the Puritans, and for the Puritans. No, this is not about high priced hookers, this is squarely about power.

It's not often that I get to agree with Alan Dershowitz, but he called it right Tuesday when he spoke to CNN about the Spitzer matter. The governor of New York is clearly being targeted, as Dershowitz suggests, and the 5,000 wiretaps placed on his telephone line weren't about catching him with a call girl. What's worse, this may only be target practice of a Party unaccustomed to defeat, and one that is predisposed to winning by any cost necessary. Indeed, they may just be warming up for Election 2008.

For answers as to by whom, and why, the Spitzer crucifixion went down, we may also need to look to the fall of another Democratic governor, Don Siegelman, of Alabama, who now sits in a federal prison camp in Louisiana,where he will remain for seven years,after having been convicted of accepting a bribe.

Some former attorney generals have spoken out about the egregiousness of the Siegelman matter, and many, both Democrats and Republicans alike, are calling for an investigation into what Grant Woods, former attorney general of Arizona, contends was an overt effort to bring down the former popular Democratic governor "because they couldn't beat him fair and square." Of course, Spitzer not being as popular, it hasn't taken nearly as long to accomplish his downfall.
And. then, there's always the inexplicable magic of tabloid journalism which, more and more, seems to have devolved into tabloid politics. Oh, and by the way, if this were about politicians and prostitution, we would have seen Heidi Fleiss' little black book by now.

Forget about Fleiss, what about the "Washington Madam" who, less than a year ago, threatened to divulge the phone records of her long list of capitol clients? Why isn't anybody going after those guys? Maybe because they're not trying to expose who's been bumping up the bottom line of banks, and credit card companies, which have been draining consumers, and making out like bandits, and second only to oil companies and war contractors.

Make no mistake, any similarities between Elliot Spitzer's current circumstances and those of Don Siegelman are more than coincidental. A prominent Republican attorney, from Alabama, has already acknowledged to having participated in a five year campaign by the Republican Party to ruin Siegelman. She calls this campaign "opposition research."

This kind of dirt digging is surely not exceptional, but it's not too often that we get to see this much transparency with respect to the federal government's implicit intervention in Republican Party politics and politicking.

The country that invented instant coffee has now invented instant pariahs.

Ah, well, it wouldn't be too far off the mark to suggest that some research is more tantalizing than others. Imagining a governor taking his pants off for a four thousand dollar an hour call girl --well, that may even deflect attention away from the idea that "opposition research" dates back to the Mayflower, not just the Mayflower Hotel. But, what we've yet to figure out is why Republicans are so much better at it than Democrats.

A wise man once said "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Clearly, we won't find the object of his defense showing off her goods on My Space, yet too many are using his name as a shield, and a battle cry. The words honor and dignity are, like the dollar, increasingly losing value thanks to the efforts not just of those who fall from grace, but of those who push them.