Monday, April 7, 2008

Mark Penn: Hold Your Nose, But He's A Mere Specimen

Corruption By Any Other Name Is Still Corruption

Highly educated, high-minded liberals sneer at the complaints of true conservatives and libertarians regarding Big Government.

I myself see the anti-Big Government rants as somewhat antiquated in the modern world. It's just a fact of modern life that the national government apparatus must be large, must be the 400-pound gorilla, to provide a supposed counter-force to the power private (economic) entities can command.

But it also produces what we--regardless of whom we support in the presidential race--are witnessing in this specific Penn case, but also in the general dynamic of presidential campaigns in this era.

Corruption is corruption, whether its McCain's campaign being run by "volunteers" who are actually paid lobbyists in real life whose primary job is grabbing a piece of the federal govt.'s money or Penn's role as Chief Strategist to HRC while simultaneously representing (in his "private" employment) entities also seeking to suck at the public teat.

The fact is, the federal govt. has become the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for a significant percentage of private business enterprises and foreign governments that makes it virtually impossible for anyone other than perhaps Moses, Jesus or Mohammed to resist the temptation of being an influence peddler---look at Bill Clinton's, Dole's, Howard Baker's post-government service, for examples.

Abraham Lincoln told the story about a railroad representative who came to his office when he was a state legislator in Illinois. There was a bill pending that would, if passed, have been a windfall for the railroad.

The railroad guy told Lincoln that he knew State Reps. didn't make much money, so, for his Yes vote, the railroad would quietly pass Ole Abe 5000 shares of its stock. Lincoln sat stone-faced, saying not a word.

Of course, said the railroad rep, we could also add a generous contribution of $10,000, which we would deposit discreetly into a bank account of your choice. Lincoln sat stone-faced, saying not a word.

We also maintain an account in Switzerland, said the railroad guy; that account accepts only deposits in gold. We easily could add a $20,000 deposit there, on top of what I already mentioned.

At that point, Lincoln stood up from behind his desk, walked around it to where the railroad guy sat, grabbed the guy by the scruff of his neck and the belt of his pants, and physically threw him out of his office.

When he told the story, most people asked, Why did you pick that particular moment to throw him out?

And Lincoln answered: "Because he was getting too close to my price."

Today, there's just sooooo much $ at stake, maybe even Lincoln would have a Mark Penn running his campaign.

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