By Bruce Walker
The Fraternal Order of Police is quite rightly expressing indignation that the grand jury investigation of Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia) for a crime that would have landed anyone else in jail is dragging on and on. Conservatives are upset that the supposed sacrosanct character of congressional offices is being used to hide a bribery case against William Jefferson (D-Louisiana) when he, too, should have been indicted and in jail by now. Patrick Kennedy (D-Rhode Island) does not have to take a breathalyzer test and returns smiling to Congress for an offense that would have landed any of us in jail post haste.
As I have written in several articles and it bears repeating again, the solution to these obvious crimes is simple. Hitting policemen, taking wads of cash and stashing them in your freezer and drinking drunk are the sorts of crimes that every American can relate to and abhor. These crimes are not like the legal problems of Tom DeLay or Harry Reid (free tickets to a boxing match is probably not ethical, but it is fundamentally different than slugging a policeman then lying about it, having a car wreck while obviously drunk and then lying about it, or filling your mitts with cold hard cash and laughing on tape about how you are getting away with bribery.)
The criminal justice system is not going to do anything about these three villains, or it will slap them on the hand. The longer the delay and more people will forget. Their constituents will reelect them with no problems. All three, and their political party, stand to get away without any real cost. Indeed, Nancy Pelosi will not even permit Congressmen Jefferson, a blatant thief, to be taken off the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representative, one of the most important congressional committees and one that deals directly with fiscal issues.
What is the simple solution? President Bush should use his constitutional power to pardon all three of these creeps and, at the same time, ask the House to hold roll call censure votes on each. Censure is not expulsion. Each of the three would remain a member of Congress, but each could be stripped of his committee assignments and formally condemned as immoral and unethical by the House of Representatives.
What could Democrats do? Would they say "If you are going to pardon these Democrats, then you should pardon bad Republicans as well"? Governor Perry could pardon Tom DeLay for his alleged state crime, but the House cannot censure a member who has resigned; besides, DeLay is innocent and will prove so in court. Former Congressman Cunningham could be pardoned, but he might well say "No, what I did was wrong and I deserve my sentence."
The contrast between the criminal defense attorney doublespeak and weasel words compared with the up front honesty of Republican House members would speak volumes about the fundamental differences between the two political parties. How would House Democrats vote on a censure of Jefferson, McKinney and Kennedy? How could they vote without costing them votes in November?
Would this not be an opportune time to remind voters that Dick Gephardt was prepared to actively campaign for the re-election of Gary Condit, if Condit had won the Democrat nomination in California. Would this not be an opportune time to remind voters that a Speaker Pelosi would be willing to have a blatant thief sit on the powerful Ways and Means Committee or that the last Democrat to Chair that powerful committee went to prison? (Remember Dan Rostenkowski, whose arm-twisting ability was so "necessary" to the Clinton agenda?)
Censured, disgraced, divided - that is the image which the American people ought to have of Democrat congressmen before they cast their ballots in November. There is a genuine climate of corruption in Washington, but the dirt is overwhelming on the side that, even as a minority party, cannot resist slugging policemen, driving drunk and lying about it, and stuffing wads of cash into his freezer, laughing all the way. A censure vote is an easy thing, particularly when the facts are utterly straightforward. Let McKinney, Kennedy and Jefferson defend themselves on the floor of the House of Representatives. Let America watch the spectacle of liars lying. Then let Americans watch how their congressman votes and choose which party they want running the House of Representatives.
Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a contributing editor to Enter Stage Right and a regular contributor to Conservative Truth, American Daily, Intellectual Conservative, Web Commentary, NewsByUs and Men's News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.
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