(Senatorial) Crimes And Misdemeanors

Amid all the furor surrounding Senator Larry Craig and his bathroom habits, another story of senatorial scandal — one that is far, far more serious and deserving of attention — is going incredibly unreported.

There’s a trial going on in New York City right now, featuring a Houston oilman who put a lot of energy into preventing the Iraq war in the days before the US invasion. Oscar S. Wyatt, Jr. is accused of opposing the war not for any valid means, but because he was bought and paid for by Saddam out of “Oil For Food” bribes. (Or, as I always liked calling it, “Quid Pro Crude.”)

That wouldn’t really be too much — it puts him in good company, along with high government figures in France, Germany, and Russia — but it is the lengths Wyatt went to to express his displeasure. He’s accused of taking Saddam’s money and using his influence to sway others into opposing the war, including a United States Senator.

It’s so ironic. While my personal life is utterly falling apart, I get handed this incredibly delicious political reward. It seems that the powerful and influential United States Senator Wyatt persuaded to not only oppose the war, but encouraged to take to the Senate floor and deliver an impassioned speech against it was none other than the Lion Of The Senate, Senator Edward Moore Kennedy (D-Chivas).

There are no accusations against Kennedy that he himself was involved in corruption, that he allowed himself to be bribed into opposing the war. And, quite frankly, I would be astonished if there was. Kennedy has always been “above” such things; his corruption is purely on the personal level, while politically he’s always adhered to his own twisted and perverse and misguided principles. He’s always struck me as the quintessential “useful idiot.”

In another delicous twist, Kennedy’s speech at the time cited his opposition to the war based on numerous factors, including the fear that Saddam might unleash his arsenal of Weapons of Mass Destruction on the region.

As Bryan noted, Kennedy will most likely survive this scandal largely unmarred. His political career seems as indestructible as his liver — he’s survived vehicular homicide, infidelities, numerous personal scandals, family disgraces, even allegations of treason before, and is still pretty much as powerful as he’s ever been.

So we Kennedy detractors find this revelation bittersweet. It reaffirms our opinion of him, but we know that in the end it’ll mean absolutely nothing in the long run. He will remain in the Senate as long as he wishes, he will retain his power and influence, and will soon be swept under the rug and forgotten along with his long list of other offenses.

For the day, though, we can fantasize that this scandal will take root and finally bring his political career — and the catastrophic harm he has inflicted on our nation — to its long-overdue end.

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