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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 12, 2010 / 4 Mar-Cheshvan, 5771

Of Public Servants Who Serve Themselves First

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | 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 Anthony Quinn, in the role of as some minor sheikh, is extolling his own generosity from atop a desolate sand dune: "I am a river to my people!"

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 Arkansas, our senior senator, Blanche Lincoln, refers to her chairmanship of the Senate Agriculture Committee as a "pipeline" of benefits for her lucky constituents.

Senator Lincoln isn't so crass as to actually spell it out, but her message is unmistakable: We here in Arkansas ought to re-elect Lady Bountiful if for no other reason than sheer gratitude for all the benefits she showers on us. Isn't that the premise of every pork-dispensing politician when campaign season rolls around?

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, Marni Goldberg, says the senator sent out about 30,000 mailings over the summer. Think of how much that might have cost a private, taxpaying business. When the senator portrays herself as serving others, she feels no need to emphasize how well she serves herself.

The chairmanship of a powerful Senate committee is a pipeline of goodies, all right, especially for those who control its flow. Any lobbyist worthy of the name knows it's good to have friends in high places, and what better way to assure access to the high-and-mighty than with cash at campaign time? Should a lobbyist forget that fact of life in Washington, there are always those politicians who will remind him, and none too subtly, by holding receptions to raise campaign funds.

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. Eleanor Holmes Norton, official delegate of the District of Columbia to the U.S. House of Representatives.

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 Washington, D.C., makes a fine schnorrer. Just listen to the exact message the Hon. Ms. Norton left for that lobbyist and mark:

"This is, uh, Eleanor Norton. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Uh, I noticed that you have given to, uh, other colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. I am a, um, senior member, a 20-year veteran and am chair of the subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management. I'm handling the largest economic development project in the United States now, the Homeland Security Compound of three buildings being built on the, uh, old St. Elizabeth's hospital site in the District of Columbia along with, uh, 15 other, uh, sites here for, that are part of the stimulus.

"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 Citizens for Eleanor Holmes Norton, P.O. Box 70626, D.C., 20024. I'll send you a follow-up note with appreciation for having heard me out. Thanks again."

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 Blanche Lincoln, who also knows a thing or two about how to raise money. Lots of it.

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 Tea Party rallies are so exercised about, or why Politician has become a term of less than endearment in the American vocabulary, or why so many of us want the In-Crowd in Washington out, or why so many voters seem bound and determined to throw the rascals out this election cycle, even if only to elect new ones ... all you need do is hear Blanche Lincoln talk about using her high office as a "pipeline" into the federal Treasury for our benefit here in Arkansas. As if she could buy our votes -- with our own money. And maybe she can. It's been done before.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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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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