Jewish World Review Oct. 12, 2010 / 4 Mar-Cheshvan, 5771
Of Public Servants Who Serve Themselves First
By Paul Greenberg
Whenever some politician portrays himself as the source of all blessings (thanks to your tax money, sucker), a scene from the movie "Lawrence of Arabia" comes to mind. It's the one in which
It's a familiar enough spiel. Doesn't every Latin American caudillo regularly remind his subjects of how grateful they should be to him? And here in
Senator Lincoln isn't so crass as to actually spell it out, but her message is unmistakable: We here in
Not that a public servant like Senator Blanche would fail to serve herself first. For example, she takes full advantage of the franking privilege that lets her deluge our mailboxes this time of year with ads for herself.
It all comes under the guise of letting us simple folk know what's happening in the nation's capital. For example: "Lincoln's Historic Child Nutrition Legislation Passes Senate," "Lincoln's Tough Wall Street Reforms Become Law," "Lincoln is the Greatest There Ever Was...." OK, I made that last one up, but it pretty much captures the tone of the whole, self-promoting, self-absorbed genre.
By strange coincidence, the flood of franked mail arrives just in time for campaign season. How convenient. For her. She's not the one who has to toss it in the already overflowing recycling bin. Even more convenient, she's not the one who pays the hefty postage on all this junk mail with the pretentious headlines.
One of the senator's staffers,
The chairmanship of a powerful
Some of our less bashful public servants will ask lobbyists for money outright--without offering so much as an iced tea and cookie in return. There was nothing subtle, for example, about a voice message from one of Sen. Lincoln's congressional colleagues, the Hon.
Ms. Norton's message surfaced the other day in the ever vigilant Weekly Standard, which printed a transcript of her sales pitch verbatim, complete with stops and starts and pauses. The full text provides an invaluable insight into how our public "servants" do business in the nation's capital, principally for their own benefit. As a public servant, the delegate from
"This is, uh,
"I was, frankly, uh, uh, surprised to see that we don't have a record, so far as I can tell, of your having given to me despite my uh, long and deep, uh, work. In fact, it's been my major work, uh, on the committee and subcommittee it's been essentially in your sector. I am, I'm simply candidly calling to ask for a contribution. As the senior member of the um, committee and a subcommittee chair, we have (chuckles) obligations to raise, uh, funds. And, I think it must have been me who hasn't, frankly, uh, done my homework to ask for a contribution earlier. So I'm trying to make up for it by asking for one now, when we particularly, uh, need, uh, contributions, particularly those of us who have the seniority and chairmanships and are in a position to raise the funds.
"I'm asking you to give to
I particularly liked the part about "those of us who have the seniority and chairmanships and are in a position to raise the funds." Delegate Norton didn't bother with subtleties about controlling a pipeline of benefits. She had the candor to come right out with it: Send me your money and, uh, here's right where to mail it.
The "honorable" delegate from D.C. may not have a vote in the House (thank goodness) but chutzpah she's got. A surplus of it, to judge by this voice message. By the time she's finished using her position to raise campaign funds, she, uh, should also have plenty of money to spend this fall. (Chuckle.) Much like
Want to know why so many Americans are mad as hell and not taking it any more? If you're one of the few left who wonder what all those folks at
JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
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