The Libby Clemency: Men of Law, Men of Principle, Men of Cash

No comment on the Libby Clemency/potential-pardon other than this: Corrupt Republicans tend to be corrupt out of principle. Corrupt Democrats tend to be corrupt out of greed.

(Which is more dangerous for our Republic?)

Most Republicans who get into trouble did their deeds, like Libby, out of dedication to the Party, the Administration, or some other higher ideal. Most Democrats who get into trouble, like Representative William Jefferson, are looking to cash in.

If Republican officials tend to be men of principles, and Democratic office-holders are men of cash, then who are the men of law?

5 thoughts on “The Libby Clemency: Men of Law, Men of Principle, Men of Cash”

  1. And also Jack Ambramoff, Bob Ney, and Tom DeLay for that matter. Solid upstanding citizens.

    Men of principle, sure. But what if those principles (like a fourth branch of government allowing for executive privilege claims without being in the executive branch) are contrary to the Republic itself?

  2. “But what if those principles… are contrary to the Republic itself?”

    The point exactly. Wealth tends to be structurally conservative, while ideology is structurally radical. Which is safer? How much does the actual implementation — who gives money and for what, who spreads ideas and for what — matter?

  3. I doubt Bush saved Libby's ass out of principle. I believe Bush saved Libby due to Libby's ability to blackmail. That's not exactly a principle.

    To Steve Pampinella's list, I would add
    Conrad Burns
    Jerry Lewis
    Katherine Harris
    Crazy Curt Weldon
    John Doolittle
    Duke Cunningham

    Besides, Democrats haven't held any power for so long, there really hasn't been much of an opportunity for any greed-based corruption.

  4. The secondary source for the central claim in this post is “Understanding American Government” by Welch, Gruhl, Comer, & Rigdon, page 309. Without the text in front of me I am unable to provide a primary reference, though I assume it ties in with the researchs agenda of J. Peters and S. Welch [1], who are both interested in the study of corruption.

    The authors use the phrases “honest graft” to describe the Democratic Party style of corruption, which originates with (Democratic) Tammany Hall official George W. Plunkitt. [2]

    [1] http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&q=j.+peters+s.+welch+corruption&btnG=Search
    [2] http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5030/

  5. It's a stretch to tie Tammany Hall into a modern discussion.

    In 1860 most Democrats in the South were called Confederates. Now a great many progeny of the Confederates are Republicans.

    Was Ulysses Grant a Tammany Hall Democrat?

  6. I'll take good ol fashioned greed over ideological nonsense any day. The former can be rather easily spotted and prosecuted with patience and oversight. The latter is far more insidious and less revealing to the common witness.

  7. Eddie,

    Thank you for addressing the questions in the post. It's odd so many leap to the assumption that because I differentiate principled corruption from cash corruption, I automatically assume principled corruption is better for our country and our constitution.

    I'm very sympathetic to your position. Liberalism grew in western Europe in those countries where there were enough independent centers of wealth to prevent the State from easily doing her will against the monied and the landed.

  8. “It's odd so many leap to the assumption that because I differentiate principled corruption from cash corruption, I automatically assume principled corruption is better for our country and our constitution.”

    Noted! 😉

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