The past week has been a bad one of congressional Democrats. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY)
have been hit by ethical scandals. Rangel was the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee (an extremely powerful position) until coming under investigation for several ethics violations. Of the list of violations, my favorite has to be the $10,800 he owed in back-taxes for his Dominican Villa. And if that wasn’t enough, we have pictures.
Rangel would be everywhere if it wasn’t for Eric Massa. When Massa resigned earlier this week, he said it was because of his cancer and believed that the calls for his resignation were because of his vote against the health-care bill and not the investigation into claims that he harassed aides. As it turns out, Massa has a history of harassment that began with his military service. His resignation has empowered other victims to step-forward and tell their tale. While I firmly believe that the push for his resignation was primarily based on his ethic concerns, I don’t doubt that the upcoming vote on the health-care bill played a role in pushing for his resignation. Nancy Pelosi has lost votes in favor of the bill due to death and resignation, having Massa gone makes things easier for her as she negotiates for votes.
One blogger applauded Massa’s scandal and chastised the net-roots campaign that helped him to get elected back in 2006. This anonymous blogger proudly proclaimed that liberals were getting what they deserved, and was clearly enjoying the situation. Watching an opponent going-down in flames over ethical issues sure is fun to watch, but it isn’t exactly something new. Scandals are non-partisan.
This past summer was not a good one for Republicans. They had to watch as both Senator John Ensign (R-NV) and Governor Mark Sanford (R-SC) became embroiled in sex-scandals. Both Ensign and Sanford had campaigned on a social conservative platform and campaigned on “family values.” To make matters even worse the two were seen as potential Republican nominees for President in 2012. That stings. To make matters worse, new e-mails have emerged that might spell trouble for Ensign. These e-mails show that Ensign might have tried to send contracts to his mistress’ husband. If these claims are confirmed then you can bet that Rangel and Massa will have some bipartisan company on the news.
When it comes right down to it, the ethical problems plaguing Democrats shouldn’t be blamed on liberals or internet activists but on the politician in question. Liberals didn’t make Eric Massa molest male staffers no more than conservatives made Mark Sanford cheat on his wife. For every John Edwards there is a Larry Craig. Corruption and sleazebaggery didn’t emerge when the Democrats won in 2006, it has always been there. Ethical violations don’t see party lines.
Edit: Now it looks like Scott Brown might have some problems to deal with: http://politicalwire.com/archives/2010/03/11/brown_accused_of_harassment_in_1998.html