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Guilt By Association

Well, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney are duking it out (genteelly, of course) over the ethical failings of people they associated with. Giuliani is taking heat over his championing of Bernard Kerik, the accused (but not yet convicted) former NYPD Commissioner and (briefly) Homeland Security nominee. Kerik is facing trial on numerous charges of corruption of many varied and sundry forms -- a virtual smorgabord of sin.

Romney, on the other hand, is taking heat for nominating a judge who released a convicted killer accused of assaulting prison guards on his own recognizance, who then traveled across the country with his prison-groupie wife and killed a young couple. Judge Kathe Tuttman was put on the bench by Romney about two years ago, and Romney is now calling for her to resign.

The common element here is that there is no shred of evidence that either Giuliani or Romney knew that their associates were as scummy as they now seem to be revealed as today. Kerik was apparently leading a remarkable double life, and was too arrogant and stupid to realize that the higher he ascended, the more scrutiny he would be under -- and sooner or later his indiscretions would come to light. The chickens have finally come home to roost -- and they have brought the vultures with them. They know the smell of dead man walking.

Judge Tuttman, on the other hand, seemed like a good bet for Romney at the time. He had to get his nominee confirmed, and that meant placating the Democrats who dominated the entire rest of the Massachusetts government. He was also being pressured to put more women in positions of power. Tuttman had been an accomplished prosecutor, so it probably seemed likely she'd be a good law-and-order, tough-on-crime, by-the-book judge. That she'd turn out to be a loon (or, if you prefer, just inept -- the Boston Globe is excusing her on the basis that "Tuttman was still learning how to master her job on the other side of the bench" two years after taking the job) was something that really couldn't be predicted.

To me, it shows that both guys are not perfect judges of character. One of the most reliable judge of future actions is past conduct, and neither Kerik nor Tuttman had any huge red flags that would warn of their recent actions.

On the other hand, we have a couple of candidates on the Democratic side whose associations could use a bit of similar scrutiny.

Senator Barack Obama has a squeaky-clean image, but that might be just good PR. It turns out that one of Obama's bigger supporters (and closer friends) is a fellow named Antoin Rezko -- who is one of Chicago's biggest slumlords and is now under indictment for allegedly ripping off the city for millions of dollars.

But Obama is a rank amateur in this sort of thing. There's a real professional out there, a master of finding people with not really shady pasts, but downright obsidian. And that would be the current leader of the pack, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-wherever is convenient this week).

One of Hillary's key foreign policy advisers is Sandy Berger, who served her husband as National Security Advisor. Berger is also a confessed and convicted felon, who stole and destroyed highly-sensitive documents related to the 9/11 attacks from the National Archives. To this day Berger has not offered any satisfactory explanation (or, for that matter, any explanation) for his actions, instead simply accepting any threatened legal sanction and keeping his silence. Indeed, he's not even complied with those; one of the conditions of his plea bargain was to submit to a polygraph test conducted by the Department of Justice, and he hasn't done that either.

By an astonishing coincidence, Berger also had to surrender his security clearance. That revocation is set to expire next September -- meaning he would be eligible for a job in a Hillary Clinton administration.

Berger's role is dwarfed, though, by another lawbreaker. Bill Clinton lied under oath in a federal proceeding solely for the benefit of saving his own sorry ass (and screwing over a woman suing him for sexual harassment), and had to surrender his license to practice law over it.

But putting to shame both Berger and Bill Clinton (if either were capable of such a thing) has to be Norman Hsu. Hsu was one of Hillary's most important fund-raisers, attending events and posing for pictures with her while he was not only a convicted felon, but a wanted fugitive who'd fled the country back in 1992. Hillary's attempted to redeem herself by offering to refund the donations Hsu bundled for her, but there is still one huge unanswered question that nobody wants to answer:

How the hell did a wanted fugitive get such ready access to a United States Senator, fomer First Lady, and leading presidential candidate, who has Secret Service protection? Did the Secret Service simply not discover Hsu was a wanted man, or did they know it and were they ordered to ignore that and allow him his ready access to the Clintons? Given the choice between saying the Secret Service was that inept, or was bullied, I don't know which I find more troubling.

Yeah, Giuliani and Romney ought to be a bit ashamed of what happened with those people whom they had entrusted with positions of great responsibility. But at least they had the excuse of "they seemed like fine folks at the time." Obama and Clinton can't try that one.

Not that they'd need to. They won't be questioned anywhere near as closely about Rezko, Berger, or Hsu.


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Comments (25)

Berger's role is d... (Below threshold)
Eric:
Berger's role is dwarfed, though, by another lawbreaker. Bill Clinton lied under oath in a federal proceeding solely for the benefit of saving his own sorry ass (and screwing over a woman suing him for sexual harassment), and had to surrender his license to practice law over it.

I am no fan of Bill Clinton and I have always agreed that what he did was an impeachable offense and illegal. However, I have to disagree with you Jay about the notion that what Bill Clinton did was more heinous that what Sandy Burgler did. There is truth to the notion that Clinton lied to hide a personal embarrasment and was not part of his official duties as President.

Berger on the other hand stole and destroyed sensitive government documents. I think there is no comparison that is a more serious crime.

The Faux Libertarian aka re... (Below threshold)
JFO:

The Faux Libertarian aka real wingnut Jay gets it wrong once again. At least get your facts right Faux Libertarian. You have one important one wrong - no surprise that. See if you can figure it out. Hint: it has to do with a crime.

RE: Giuliani's Associates<b... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

RE: Giuliani's Associates
It's not just Kerik

RE: Hsu access to Clinton
Proof? Link?

RE: Rezko Questions to Obama
Meet the Press, November 11
[ctrl+F "rezko"]

Any other baseless claims?

Sean, you screwed up your l... (Below threshold)

Sean, you screwed up your links. But here's an easy way to find the Hillary/Hsu linkage:

J.

Jay, you stated:Give... (Below threshold)
Allen:

Jay, you stated:
Given the choice between saying the Secret Service was that inept, or was bullied, I don't know which I find more troubling.

Would that also be applied to the fact about the sign in log at the White House? That is also no longer open to the public, which it had been for a long time.

I have to agree, it is troubling about the Secret Service, just shows that both political parties are full of crooks.

Tell ya what, Allen: you fi... (Below threshold)

Tell ya what, Allen: you find a WANTED FUGITIVE who's had access to the White House, and I'll grant you relevance. Until then, have a nice, steaming cup of STFU.

J.

Sorry Jay,Correct li... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Sorry Jay,
Correct link for MTP, Nov 11

Jay,Fair enough with... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Jay,
Fair enough with the link of Hsu and Clinton at a fundraiser. However, when you said "ready access", I took that to mean he could hold private meetings with her, ie visit her one-on-one, not just at a public event.

If that's so terrible, then I guess you should have mentioned this as well. Abramoff was getting access to the White House and the Administration "has gone to great lengths to prevent access to visitor records relating to Jack Abramoff." I haven't heard about it in a while (now that Jack's in jail, he's fallen off the radar a bit), but I'm not sure if the Administration did ever get around to releasing those records.

PS: I do realize that Hsu, at the time, was a fugitive while Abramoff, at the time, was not. That is a clear difference between them. However, another clear difference is the level of involvement (not necessarily with Bush, but possibly his staff), where the Administration's closeness with Abramoff appears to be much greater than Clinton's with Hsu.

Unbelievable.sean ... (Below threshold)
Drago:

Unbelievable.

sean nyc: "However, another clear difference is the level of involvement (not necessarily with Bush, but possibly his staff), where the Administration's closeness with Abramoff appears to be much greater than Clinton's with Hsu."

Uh, so to summarize: there is no evidence of Abramoff involvement with Bush, and there is no evidence of Abramoff's involvement with Bush's staff, BUT "possibly" Bush's staff had involvement with Abramoff.

Thus, in sean's and the lefties world, that "possibility" is immediately more damning than the Clinton Admin close relationship with an actual outstanding felon.

And people wonder why lefties think "fire can't melt steel". (Google It!!!)

As for Jay's point that whe... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

As for Jay's point that when Giuliani recommended Kerik for the nation's top law enforcement job, he seemed like fine folk at the time, who are we kidding? Giuliani consistently ignored repeated warnings from his own staff about Kerik and his mob connections.

The reason he ignored the warnings is he simply didn't care...Giuliani's "not a bad judge of character; he doesn't care about character at all. "Loyalty" isn't just at the top of the list; it's the only item on the list". Does that remind you of anyone?

I don't think the Romney/Gu... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I don't think the Romney/Guiliani comparison is equivalent.

Romney would have had to predict future conduct. Kerik work directly for Guiliani for years. Basically Guiliani had the advantage of hindsight. If he didn't find out Kerik was corrupt, then that's a comment on how Guiliani runs a campaign.

And Romney seemed to have much less of a free hand in picking the judge. With an 85% Democratic controlled legislature, they could withhold approval indefinitely.

Drago:there is ... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Drago:

there is no evidence of Abramoff's involvement with Bush's staff, BUT "possibly" Bush's staff had involvement with Abramoff.

There is "possibly" evidence because the Administration has withheld visitor logs from becoming public and certainly would not release any internal documentation of said "possible" meetings. We do know Abramoff has admitted to corruption charges, has implicated several Republican (only) congressman, and has visited the White House on at least the one occasion (linked above). Want more? There is also a picture of Abramoff in the same room as Bush, who is meeting one of Abramoff's clients, which the White House has confirmed. Abramoff has written emails indicating he has spoken with President Bush on several occasions, and the investigation into Abramoff also yielded a source saying there have been "interchanges between Abramoff and investigators about members of the Bush administration." (also in previous link)

that "possibility" is immediately more damning than the Clinton Admin close relationship with an actual outstanding felon.

Well, it's more than just a "possibility" (as documented above), it's the extent of involvement we're unsure about. And my whole point was that what Jay provided as "proof" of Clinton's "close" relationship is exactly the type of "proof" we have of Bush w/ Abramoff, except that there are "possibilities" that Abramoff was more closely involved with the Bush Administration (ie direct contact between him and staff) and that is not the case for Hsu and Clinton (at least not that has been demonstrated here).

Confused Sean paragraph 1: ... (Below threshold)
Drago:

Confused Sean paragraph 1: "There is "possibly" evidence because the Administration has withheld visitor logs from becoming public ..."

Confused Sean paragraph 2: "Well, it's more than just a "possibility" (as documented above), .."

Yes, of course! "as documented above...."

Wow. "As documented Above".

Yes, it's been "documented" that "possibly" Abramoff had untoward contacts with the Bush Admin, and in lefty world that certainly trumps actual documented dealings between Clinton Admin types and an actual, at the time, felon.

Wow.

Keep going sean!

Sean, you are soo on the lo... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Sean, you are soo on the losing side trying to defend your comparison. There is none. Case closed. Wish all you want, it won't come true. Thems the facts. GW has flaws, but breaking the law is not one of them. Libby was sentenced for lying under oath, but according to lefties, that is not a crime. So, where is the comparison? ww

Crickmore: "Giuliani consis... (Below threshold)
Drago:

Crickmore: "Giuliani consistently ignored repeated warnings from his own staff about Kerik and his mob connections.."

Wow. Ignoring potential mob connections is certainly no badge of honor.

Of course, we should probably ignore all those mobsters Rudy put away. Yep. That wouldn't help the "narrative" at all.

If only FDR had followed that advice as well, instead of appointing noted whiskey-runner Joe Kennedy, the also noted nazi sympathizer, as our Ambassador to the Court of St James, thus representing our views to the most stalwart opponents of those nazi's.

Of course, now FDR is a hero to the left.

Sean, I'll repeat the HUGE ... (Below threshold)

Sean, I'll repeat the HUGE distinction you glossed over:

The alleged Abramoff dealings were BEFORE he was indicted.

The confirmed Hsu meetings were years AFTER he was indicted, tried, and convicted.

Hsu was wanted by the government when he met with Hillary -- under the eyes of federal law-enforcement agents under her control.

And I just wanna know if they didn't know he was was wanted, or if they were ordered to let him through to see her?

J.

Drago:it's been... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Drago:

it's been "documented" that "possibly" Abramoff had untoward contacts with the Bush Admin,

It's not the crime, it's the cover-up, as they say. The Administration took the White House visitor log out of the public domain in the middle of the Abramoff investigation. Then, I found that when they did get around to releasing them, due to a court order, they didn't release the whole thing. Some choice paragraphs (from the NYT link):

A White House spokeswoman, Erin Healy, said she could offer no explanation of why the records released Wednesday did not reflect all of the visits by Mr. Abramoff that the White House had previously acknowledged. Asked if officials might have approved Mr. Abramoff's entry without requiring him to register at White House security posts, Ms. Healy declined comment. "I have nothing for you on that," she said.

Two other administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of rules that generally bar them from speaking to reporters, said the White House had decided that the settlement of the lawsuit did not require other, more complete visitor logs to be made public.

They said the more complete logs, known within the White House as Waves records, an acronym for the Workers Appointments and Visitors Entry System, would have identified the other visits by Mr. Abramoff.

The conservative group that sought the logs in the lawsuit, Judicial Watch, which has often championed open-government causes, suggested that it might return to court. The group's president, Tom Fitton, said the White House had decided to "cherry-pick the information."

More details about the logs here also.

and in lefty world that certainly trumps actual documented dealings between Clinton Admin types and an actual, at the time, felon

How many times do I have to say it? What we've seen so far show that the Bush-Abramoff and Clinton-Hsu relationships are about equal with respect to level of contact (ie just pictures taken at fundraisers). Yes, Hsu was a fugitive, while Abramoff wasn't, so that weighs against Clinton. But I keep showing there is evidence that the Administration is hiding details about their involvement with Abramoff while you (and Jay) have yet to show how Hsu had more than just these photo-ops.

So fine, I'll say it, the hard proof we have shows that Clinton is worse. The potential for the revelations about Administration's conduct showing more wrong-doing is much higher then the potential for Clinton, however.

The Rezko-Obama connection ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The Rezko-Obama connection has been covered extensively in both the Tribune and the Sun-Times for months, as well as in other national outlets. There's very little there, despite a lot of digging.

The Romney thing is very similar to the Dukakis/Horton thing. Ridiculous. Giuliani is desperate.

But you're right, neither Obama or Romney are in the same leagues as Clinton and Giuliani in terms of their associations with shady characters. Mob ties, Chinese outlaws, pedophiles, classified document thieves, and more run of the mill crooks as far as the eye can see. Why anyone would vote for either of them is beyond me.

Jay Tea:I'll re... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Jay Tea:

I'll repeat the HUGE distinction you glossed over:

The alleged Abramoff dealings were BEFORE he was indicted.

The confirmed Hsu meetings were years AFTER he was indicted, tried, and convicted.

You provide the possible explanation for why he was allowed to take pictures with her below (in bold).

And I just wanna know if they didn't know he was was wanted, or if they were ordered to let him through to see her?

Good question. I don't have the answer, but it very well may be your first explanation and you haven't provided any proof that it's the second. (I doubt they do background checks for everyone at fundraisers, just metal detectors, etc at the entrance.)

And if it's the case that it is the first, does that excuse Hillary Clinton, at least somewhat? Will you print a retraction? Will you harangue the Secret Service for not doing background checks for the thousands of people who go to these fundraisers every week?
--------

Getting back to your first point, the "alleged" Abramoff dealings were taking place while he was committing his crimes of corrupting public officials, one of whom happened to be in the Office of Management and Budget. That doesn't exactly make the Administration faultless in all this. In fact, I'd say it does quite the opposite.

Where is the evidence that Hsu had a similar relationship with someone in Clinton's organization?

drago. This is certainly b... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

drago. This is certainly becoming a tit for tat thread...guilt by association, so I suppose it is not offtopic. to say "You can't blame Bush for what his grandfather did any more than you can blame Jack Kennedy for what his father did."

And it is curious that Giuliani was pretty fearless in his dealings with the mob....good for him, full stop...so was straight Republican prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, but that doesn't win him too many brownie points with his opponents, now.

In case nobody's mentioned ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

In case nobody's mentioned it in this threat, Politico is claiming to have proof that Giuliani paid for out-of-state trysts with taxpayer money. Kerik is the least of his problems, Jay Tea. He's finished.

Here's a fun <a href="http:... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Here's a fun Giuliani video for your viewing pleasure.

Steve Crickmore ~ Are you j... (Below threshold)

Steve Crickmore ~ Are you just a fool, or an active liar? Your link on Prescott Bush is laughable. First, it fails to mention his SENIOR partner, Averill Harriman (hmmm, wonder why?), or that both men were cleared of wrongdoing by the federal courts, and all confiscated funds were returned to them. Their investment banking ventures had accepted funds from the Weimar Republic, several private German companies, and from German millionaire Fritz Thyssen, who had been an early supporter of Hitler but had fled Germany in 1939, not from Hitler's government.

But I suppose the truth wouldn't be useful in making your "moral equivalence" arguments, would it?

Speaking of truth, who was Fitzpatrick's superior when he served in the New York office?

Jim Addison, yes Averill H... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jim Addison, yes Averill Harriman's association with Prescott Bush is well known.

A friend of mine told me today, that according to Gore Vidal, when FDR appointed Joe Kennedy to head the Securities Exchange Comission in 1934, FDR explained "It takes a thief to catch a thief". (scroll down)

I think the point of Jay's thread is that there is a history of a lot of bipartisan association by guilt...I am more cynical than Jay and think that it is a little more active association going on, and that when Giuliani recommenced Kerik it's not that he was a bad judge of character it's that he is a good judge of character..

Politics are normally about deciding between various shades of grey. It's just that this administration has pushed the envelope.

"And if it's the case th... (Below threshold)

"And if it's the case that it is the first, does that excuse Hillary Clinton, at least somewhat? Will you print a retraction? Will you harangue the Secret Service for not doing background checks for the thousands of people who go to these fundraisers every week?"

I'm calling foul on this one. First, Jay asked a question. Was it they didn't know? Or was it that they were told to ignore it?

Why should he have to print a retraction for asking or wondering?

In either instance it's an embarrassment for the Secret Service AND Clinton.




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