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For Shame

Yesterday, the Justice Department formally cleared former House Speaker Tom DeLay of any charges of corruption in relation to the Jack Abramoff scandal. DeLay, who resigned after being indicted on unrelated financial corruption charges in Texas back in 2006, is still awaiting his day in court on those charges.

Now, I've never really liked DeLay. Something about him rubbed me the wrong way. He struck me as the kind of person who should be kept away from the reins of power, for a variety of reasons.

But not kept away by any means. Not by bullshit trumped-up bogus criminal charges.

DeLay always said that he was the victim of a vindictive prosecutor, and the evidence seems to back that up. Ronnie Earle, the district attorney, tried to get a grand jury to indict DeLay. They refused. So he got another one, who did -- but only by violating the Constitution, and charging him with breaking a law before it went into effect. That one got tossed. It was the third grand jury that issued the indictment that got DeLay to resign, and that's when Earle seemed to lose interest in pursuing "justice" -- nothing has happened in the case in over three years.

But that's all background and context for a trend I've noticed: how many Republicans tend to "resign in disgrace."

Tom DeLay. Richard Nixon. Eliot Spitzer. Mark Foley. Newt Gingrich. Bob Packwood. Bob Livingston.

On the other hand, Democrats who are caught misbehaving tend to cling fiercely to their titles and the trappings of power, usually saying that they will "trust the voters to decide" if they are still worthy of remaining in office -- even in the face of indictment, impeachment, or corruption charges. Bill Clinton. Charlie Rangel. Maxine Waters. Jack Murtha. Ted Kennedy. Dianne Feinstein. Tim Geithner. Barney Frank. William "Cold Cash" Jefferson. Christopher Dodd. Rod Blagojevich. Dan Rostenkowski.

Obviously this is not a comprehensive list, and there are exceptions on both sides. Some Republicans caught in scandal refuse to go -- Mark Sanford and David Vitter come to mind. Likewise, every now and then a Democrat does the honorable thing -- Jim McGreevey, Mel Reynolds, and... um... hey, help me out here, folks. I'm drawing a blank.

Why this discrepancy? I have a theory, that's only part snark. It's related to why conservatives tend to be far more susceptible to charges of "hypocrisy."

It's because that, generally, conservatives tend to feel more shame than liberals. Liberals are shameless.

When a conservative is caught up in a scandal, there is a touch of hypocrisy, as conservatives are usually viewed as the ones who are speaking on behalf of virtue and morality. On the other hand, we don't hold those same expectations of liberals. In effect, we expect them to be amoral, corrupt scumbags, as they never promised to be anything but.

In other words, the scumbags in both parties are wretched, but at least the liberals didn't promise to not be scumbags.

Yeah, a gross oversimplification of the situation. Yeah, I'm playing in stereotypes. But like most stereotypes, I think there's at least a couple of grains of truth at its core.


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Comments (18)

"On the other hand, we don'... (Below threshold)

"On the other hand, we don't hold those same expectations of liberals."

This is never more apparent than when a political sex scandal hits the news.

I've repeatedly asked my Democrat friends how it makes them feel to have their politicians almost expected to be playboys and adulterers, or to explain why the press should focus more on Republicans who cheat on their wives (Mark Sanford) than on Democrats who do the same (John Edwards -- even to the point of complicity in an obvious cover-up).

Funny thing is, I've yet to be given a satisfactory answer that intelligently acknowledged and explained that disparity.

Jay, Eliot Spitzer was not ... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Jay, Eliot Spitzer was not a Republican who resigned in disgrace.

Eliot Spitzer aka Client #9... (Below threshold)
Stan:

Eliot Spitzer aka Client #9 was the Democrat Governor of New York when he resigned. He was also the one that tried to prosecute Hank Greenburg, the head of AIG on bogus campaign contributions to the Republicans.

Ronnie Earl needs to go str... (Below threshold)
914:

Ronnie Earl needs to go straight to jail along with the Duke Lacrosse prosecuter and Dan Rather for that matter.

Democrats don't have to res... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Democrats don't have to resign because the LSM covers for them. They bury the story, or cover it quickly and drop it. They almost never mention the political affiliation. And if they do, they also mention repubs who have supposedly done the same things to make it seem as if everyone does it.

When a repub does something "wrong" we get complete news saturation of the story, the affect being to hound the "guilty" party until they cannot take it any longer.

Hey Jay, you forgot Bawney ... (Below threshold)
MikeNC:

Hey Jay, you forgot Bawney Fwank and Gerry Studds.

The real difference here is between the democrat and republican electorates. If republicans don't leave on their own you can usually count on the electorate to take care of the problem. Democrats on the other hand just keep on re-electing the crooks and perverts. There may be exceptions, but by and large republicans do a much better job of house cleaning.

Conservatives do not tend t... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Conservatives do not tend to feel shame, they do. They have a core belief and when caught (they all are eventually) they have to leave with their head down in shame. Democrats tend to throw parties for their members that are riddled with scandal. Clinton, Rangel, etc. That is why I always knew it was bullshit when a democrat actually tries to tell people they know how we average people feel. ww

I beg your pardon, Mike. I ... (Below threshold)

I beg your pardon, Mike. I did include Barney Frank. Studds, though... I was tending towards overkill.

And everyone else is right about Spitzer. I should move him down to the Dem side. Sorry, folks... brain fart.

J.

"Democrats on the other ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"Democrats on the other hand just keep on re-electing the crooks and perverts."

You know darn well that in spite of not disclosing half a million in assets, not reporting to the IRS his rent income, being in possession of not one or two, but FOUR rent controlled apartments and using assets provided by our tax dollars to promote his own memorial, etc - he will still get a ton of votes from those he stole from. Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

Sorry Jay, I missed it. Mus... (Below threshold)
MikeNC:

Sorry Jay, I missed it. Must have been a ....brain fart!

Why are people like Stan un... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Why are people like Stan unable to spell "Democratic"? Elliot Spitzer was the Democratic Governor of New York. He was also a very good AG. Is abbreviating his party affiliation an attempt at slander? Is the word hard to spell?

"Liberals are shameless."</... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Liberals are shameless."

And why not. They wallow in hypocrisy. When called on it, they invoke "nuance".

Hydrophobist, there is noth... (Below threshold)

Hydrophobist, there is nothing democratic about the Jackass Party.

Hyper, I don't do it myself... (Below threshold)

Hyper, I don't do it myself, but I know precisely why so many people say "Democrat Party" and the like instead of "Democratic."

Because it pisses off people like you.

The more you whine about it, the more others will use it. It's that simple.

Glad to help.

J.

Hyper there was nothing tha... (Below threshold)
Stan:

Hyper there was nothing that Eliot Spitzer aka Client #9 ever did that was Democratic. Hell what he did was downright partisan. He went after the so-called called fat cats that donated to the Republicans with spurious charges to frighten them into resigning the high paying positions that they held. As Attorney General of the state of New York, he cost the state more in tax revenues by filing bogus charges against Wall Street and Corporations. These actions and others drove most of the businesses out of New York and down to places that were more business friendly, who by the way are benefiting from the tax revenue.

Hyper, as a Canadian, why y... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Hyper, as a Canadian, why you give a damn? Shouldn't you be focusing on whether the right name is the Animal Environment Alliance Voters Party or the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party?

I chose your blog Jay, beca... (Below threshold)
olsoljer:

I chose your blog Jay, because you are usually right on top of things - have you seen the video of Obamessiah drunk at a town hall meeting?

A scandle involving a repub... (Below threshold)
dunce:

A scandle involving a republican when left to thier base to decide at the polls is usaully an exit.For dems it is a resume' enhancement unless theyare facing a prosecution and/ or are likely to expose others with a full investigation then they announce that they need to spend more time with thier family and snuff out torches of the howling mob.




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