American Elephants

Are Democrats More Corrupt than Republicans? by The Elephant's Child

The Daily Caller is not exactly a repository of right-wing extremism.  So I was a little startled to see them commenting on corruption in the Democrat Party:

This has been a bad couple of weeks for Democrats. The economy is sagging, support for President Barack Obama is declining, and Anthony Weiner and John Edwards are doing their best to draw attention to one of the Democratic Party’s main weaknesses — its corruption problem.

The author of the piece, Peter Tucci, an editor at the website, finds four major problems:

1.) Big-city corruption: America’s major cities are notoriously corrupt, and a good-sized percentage of big-city politicians—almost all of whom are Democrats— end up facing corruption charges.  But it isn’t just corruption charges, they often bring down cities as well. Detroit has had only Democrat mayors since the 1960s. Big cities, says Mr. Tucci, have major resources, power and influence, which means that big-city governments are wracked with corruption.  And powerful political machines make matters worse.

2.) The big-government mindset: If you believe that the free market’ is unfair and arbitrary, then you may believe that you should reallocate resources in a way that is more fair, and that may involve diverting resources to friends.  If on the other hand, you believe in the free market and thrift, you might have a harder time rationalizing graft.

3.) Self-righteousness: Some liberals see themselves as the good guys who are making the world a better place, and their friends as better people, more able to make the choices that are apt to win the future.

4.) Democrat voters don’t really mind: Studies show that liberals just don’t care as much as conservatives do about corruption.  As a result of that, Democrat politicians know that they can get away with a lot.

Mr. Tucci links to studies that attempt to clarify corruption, define corruption, and consider partisan prosecution of corruption.  I hasten to add that corruption and illegality exist in both political parties.  Anthony Weiner and John Edwards are not examples so much of corruption as just general sleaziness, poor character, and attempts to cover up when their actions are made public.

Corruption is steering public money to political supporters.  Using the law to unjustly attack those who disagree with your policies.  Ignoring the law because, being important, you don’t have to obey it. Steering government business to campaign contributors. Using executive orders to accomplish things that you can’t get through Congress.  Using the power of your position to do things expressly forbidden by the Constitution.

There are a lot of real questions about what is corruption and what is not.  How do you define it?  Who are the most corrupt? Who is without fault? Honest partisanship is surely acceptable, as are differing beliefs, standards, and policies.  Yet some are prosecuted simply because they are partisan and hold different beliefs. Where is the dividing line between what is ethical and what is not?

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