What is going on with congressional Republicans nowadays? In less than one year’s time four highly esteemed Republicans have had to resign because of evidence of serious misconduct.
From the power grabs of Tom DeLay (R), to the greediness of Duke Cunningham (R) and Bob Ney (R), to the now widely publicized sexual advances of Mark Foley (R) towards teenagers, the Republicans appear to be doing their best to live up to the “Culture of Corruption” label. The crazy thing is that even with all that has transpired, there still might be more Republicans joining them as political casualties before the Nov. 7 elections. This is because new evidence has emerged suggesting that Foley’s disgusting behavior was covered up by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.
It is already known that Hastert was aware of Foley’s inappropriate behavior months, if not years, ahead of time and did practically nothing to stop Foley. Now a congressional committee will try to determine whether Hastert’s inaction was deliberate in order to protect the G.O.P.’s image or done out of laziness. In my opinion it shouldn’t matter what route Hastert chose because either act is extremely careless and unprofessional given the seriousness of Foley’s pedophilic behavior.
Even one of the most reliably conservative voices in the nation’s capital, The Washington Times’ editorial board, has called for Hastert to step down stating that he was either “grossly negligent” or “looked the other way in hopes that a brewing scandal would blow away.”
I will acknowledge that Republicans aren’t the only ones in this “Culture of Corruption” as Democratic Rep. Bill Williams was caught hiding $90,000 in bribes in his refrigerator. However, when one juxtaposes Williams’ $90,000 in a refrigerator to Cunningham’s $2.4 million and luxury yacht from military contractors, or Delay’s and Ney’s luxurious golfing trips to Scotland courtesy of Jack Abramoff, Democrats are left looking more ridiculous and amateurish in bribery than Republicans.
Republicans might disagree with this, thinking I am trivializing my side’s mistakes but the fact is that this is the public’s perception.
According to an AP-Ipsos poll conducted this week after the Foley revelations, likely voters overwhelmingly believe (Nearly a 2-1 advantage) that the Democratic Party is better able to fight corruption than the Republicans.
Ultimately, while some Republicans think it’s not fair that the “Culture of Corruption” label is sticking mainly to them, looking at all the facts, I am surprised it took this long for the label to get attached to the G.O.P., whose strong point is supposed to be the handling of moral values.
Patrick Molnar is a business sophomore and Mustang Daily political columnist.