Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Pattern of Corruption

Maybe we shouldn't call it corruption. Because in the Obama administration the high-profile firing of Gerald Walpin, Inspector General of the government volunteering programgs, is not really a betrayal of principle.

Modern liberalism combines a kind of high-minded intellectualism with bare-knuckle power politics, a kind of Jekyll and Hyde combo. You talk to the media in high-flown phrases taken from recent university press books written by fashionable professors and featured in the New York Review of Books. But behind the scenes you run a ruthless Chicago-style political machine, where everything is quid-pro-quo and pay-to-play.

Now Dan Riehl reveals that the Walpin firing is part of a pattern. There's Neil Barofsky, inspector general for the federal stimulus program.

He was appointed with fanfare as the public watchdog over the government's multi-billion dollar bailout of the nation's financial system. But now Neil Barofsky is embroiled in a dispute with the Obama administration that delayed one recent inquiry and sparked questions about his ability to freely investigate.

On top of that, the inspector general for the International Trade Commission is also in trouble.

The third instance involves an acting IG for the International Trade Commission, Judith Gwynne, who has been told her contract would not be renewed amid allegations that an ITC employee forcibly took documents from her possession. Just three hours after Grassley sent along his letter asking questions, she was told she'd be hitting the road in July when her contract is up.

The bigger point here is that this sort of thing really would be more scandalous in a Republican administration. Republicans are supposed to believe in limited government, especially where economic interests are concerned.

Republicans believe, more or less, in Michael Novak's greater separation of powers between the political sector, the economic sector, and the moral/cultural sector.

But Democrats believe that the political sector must dominate the economic sector, otherwise the nation will revert to a nineteenth century economy of robber barons and rampant exploitation. The only remedy they know is political power, and they are prepared to apply it ruthlessly. So when they wield the ax on inspectors general who expose corrupt practices, they are consistent with their principles in choosing political power over an excessive regard for the rules and dotting the "i"s and crossing the "t"s. Why should a politician helping out a political ally be hauled up before the green eyeshade boys?

There's only one problem with this relaxed attitude towards political insider dealing. The American people hate it. And now with the blogosphere backing up the MSM it's hard to hide it.

We know the American people are trending conservative, according to the Gallup Poll. We know that the American people hate the bail-outs. We know they hate the deficit. We know that, all of a sudden the health reform express doesn't look quite the shoo-in now that the GAO has put a $1.6 trillion price tag on its head. But the Obama administration is still doing liberal business-as-usual.

I'd say that a a wake-up call is coming. Particularly since the Democrats made such a big deal about corruption and ethical behavior in the last two election cycles.

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