(I feel like I’m stepping on Paul’s toes here, but this is too good a story to pass up on.)
Well, despite the best efforts of a lot of people, William Jefferson
Clinton (darn it, I should probably see someone about that little problem) has been re-elected to Congress from Louisiana. This, despite the FBI investigation into his alleged corruption. This, despite his nearly provoking a Constitutional crisis by declaring his Capitol Hill office to be an island unto itself, untouchable by law enforcement officials not under direct Congressional control. (Aided and abetted in that pursuit by, in a stroke of sheer idiocy and political tone-deafness, then-Speaker Dennis Hastert.) This, despite the FBI finding $90,000 in cash hidden in his freezer. This, despite his shanghaiing a National Guard Unit during the Katrina flooding to take him to his home and wait outside for nearly an hour while he rescued certain unnamed prized possessions (but, many strongly suspect, more cash) until their truck was stuck by the rising flood waters and he, the Guardsmen, and the truck had to be rescued by others.
So Mr. Jefferson is going back to Washington. The people of Louisiana failed the basic test, didn’t answer properly when asked “is this the sort of person you want acting in your name?”
So the burden on doing the right thing falls on the House leadership — also known as “Nancy Pelosi.”
Will Mr. Jefferson be welcomed back with open arms, his seniority and committee seats restored? Or will he be treated as a pariah, an outcast, a stain on the party that campaigned so vigorously against corruption? He has been publicly championed by the Congressional Black Caucus, the same group that fought so futilely to get impeached former federal judge Alcee Hastings named chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. (Apparently to the CBC, race trumps character in pretty much every case.)
It seems to me that this must be an incredibly amusing time to be a Republican in Congress. The spotlight is now focused relentlessly on the Democrats, who seem stuck in a hayfield full of rakes and bound and determined to step on each and every one of them — as forcefully as possible, and with as many cameras on them as they can find. Combine that with the Democrats finding out that the American people actually expect them to DO the things they promised they’d do.