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Tilting at Windmills

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June 16, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

JEFFERSON OUSTED....Thank God for this: "House Democrats met behind closed doors Thursday and voted to strip Rep. William Jefferson of his seat on the Ways and Means Committee." However, Jefferson seems to think he was treated unfairly:

The objection was to the unprecedented nature of the move (stripping a member of a seat prior to an indictment), along with the fact that there didn't seem to be any objective standard for removal. As Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) put it, her standard was "Anybody with $90,000 in the freezer you have a problem with this Caucus."

I'm fine with that standard. Jefferson deserves his day in court, but tonight's vote was a political statement, not a judicial one. The guy had bricks of hundred dollar bills wrapped in tin foil seized from his freezer by the FBI, and anybody with a lick of common sense knows that that's a plenty high standard for stripping someone of a committee seat.

And the Congressional Black Caucus should be ashamed of itself. Their job is to represent black interests, not to mindlessly defend anyone with dark skin no matter how obvious the evidence that he's a crook. Enough's enough.

Kevin Drum 1:06 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (57)

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KEVIN DRUM: JEFFERSON OUSTED....Thank God for this

Praise the Lord! This greatly increases our chances for peace; and I feel more prosperous already. Bless you for taking such a courageous stand, Kevin.


Posted by: jayarbee on June 16, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

Good thing at least one party has some morality.

Posted by: craigie on June 16, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, the CBC ended up splitting up on this issue. They were a force of resistance UNTIL today.
Please read the latest news about this. I believe Charles Rangel and others dropped their support of Jefferson.

Posted by: hopeless pedant on June 16, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

Meanwhole offthread, awol is still unable or unwilling to even attempt catching osama bin ladin. In case anyone forgot he had something to do with 9/11. Is awol afraid of Pakistan? Awol talks big but historically is ineffective at everything.

Posted by: Where's osama on June 16, 2006 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

"Their job is to represent black interests, not to mindlessly defend anyone with dark skin no matter how obvious the evidence that he's a crook"

So whitey's telling the black man what to do? That's racist!

Just kidding. Chances are this guy represents a gerrymandered all-black district (just the way Republicans want it -- Bantustans for black voters). His successor will likely be black too.

Posted by: abe on June 16, 2006 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

If we are the party that doesn't believe in "earmarking the shit out of" appropriations we should think about removing Alan Mollohan from his committtee assignments also.

Not saying it compares to Jefferson (more similar to Hastert) but you have to draw the line somewhere south of Mollohan if you want to run on corruption issues nationally.

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 16, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

Jefferson violated the chief rule of the Democrat party: He got caught. I'm glad he got ousted, but how many Democrats are just going to be more careful not to get CAUGHT taking bribes?

Posted by: American Hawk on June 16, 2006 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

The tune up of congress has begun. Either we go after ALL of the crooks or we are no better than the Repubs. While I may mourn the loss of a "democrat" I am ecstatic at the thought that we might be getting serious about corruption.

Any chance the other side will follow suit?

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on June 16, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

Jefferson violated the chief rule of the Democrat party: He got caught. I'm glad he got ousted, but how many Democrats are just going to be more careful not to get CAUGHT taking bribes?

How many more credits do you need to graduate from your "special" school?

Posted by: craigie on June 16, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK


AMERICAN HAWK: Jefferson violated the chief rule of the Democrat party: He got caught.
No, you violated the first rule of the Democratic Party by misspelling it. And, of course, with your presence here, you violate the first rule of parties in general: You came uninvited!


Posted by: jayarbee on June 16, 2006 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

"Jefferson violated the chief rule of the Democrat party: He got caught. I'm glad he got ousted, but how many Democrats are just going to be more careful not to get CAUGHT taking bribes?"
Simple moron or RNC shill? It is so hard to tell.
Last time I checked it was the first rule of anything you know to be illegal or unethical. At least one party knows how to deal with members who are clearly crooked. Let's see the Repubs oust Rep. Lewis out of his position.

Posted by: Nathan64 on June 16, 2006 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

I love these sorts of cat fights

Maybe the F.B.I. can select a ReThuglicant next round

Any bets on how petty this little game is going to get ?

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

Posted by: daCascadian on June 16, 2006 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

American chicken-hawk-

Poster child for post-natal abortion.

Posted by: SnarkyShark on June 16, 2006 at 6:31 AM | PERMALINK

Jefferson is a criminal, plain and simple. The Dems need to dump him like a hot rock. There are criminals in the White House who need to get gotten rid of.

Articles of Impeachment have been drafted - the Dems should be bringing them to the floor of the House every single day it is in session. Gutless fools...

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 16, 2006 at 6:41 AM | PERMALINK

If you have so much contempt for the law that you ignore subpoenas, you should be railroaded out of the Democratic Party at once.

Posted by: bob h on June 16, 2006 at 7:02 AM | PERMALINK

I applaud the caucus vote. Americans are sick of the Republican culture of corruption, and the Democrats need one message: Clean house.

Which is, of course, exactly why the White House can ill afford Democrats taking control of even one chamber, and why they and their allies in the lapdog media are trying to make Democrats offer premature concessions.

Posted by: Gregory on June 16, 2006 at 7:24 AM | PERMALINK

YUP...a good thing for sure. Now watch the REPUGS spin it as Dems don't even support their own and want to hurt black people...it's what they do. Excuse me I just fell off my chair...heard a caller on WJ say "The American people are smarter than some people think they are!"...WRONG!

Posted by: Dancer on June 16, 2006 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK

Given what I have been reading about Denny Hastart's activities earmarking road construction past his real estate development, I have to ask American Hawk if the Republicans should strip the Speaker of his position. After all feathering his own nest that way is without doubt highly unethical and maybe illegal.

I am willing to kick out every crooked Democrat in Congress if you are willing to kick out every crooked Republican. In fact I would say good riddens to all of them. Election to Congress is an opportunity to provide service to the nation, not an invitation to steal. Wouldn't you agree.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 16, 2006 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

American Hawk, I bet you I will run out of crooked Democrats to purge from Congress long before you run out of crooked Republicans.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 16, 2006 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

You guys need to be clear about what the purpose of the CBC is. It's a kind of highly specialized PAC.

It's a means of funneling corporate money to its members. Period.

"force of resistence" - what crap. Resistence to any whiff of accountability perhaps. Scarcely a progressive motive.

Posted by: CFShep on June 16, 2006 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

I am willing to kick out every crooked Democrat in Congress if you are willing to kick out every crooked Republican. In fact I would say good riddens to all of them.

Hear, hear.

Posted by: Gregory on June 16, 2006 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

'American Hawk, I bet you I will run out of crooked Democrats to purge from Congress long before you run out of crooked Republicans. '

That could all change come November. Power corrupts and so on.

Posted by: Bandit on June 16, 2006 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

American Chickenhawk: Jefferson violated the chief rule of the Democrat party: He got caught. I'm glad he got ousted, but how many Democrats are just going to be more careful not to get CAUGHT taking bribes?

You are getting confused about whose rule that is; it is the GOP's rule.

They even had a special vote to confirm the rule, named something like "the DeLay Rule".

Thanks again for your mendacious input which, along with the input of GOP and rdw and Jay and republicrat, continues to confirm the impression sweeping American voters that conservatives are inveterate liars.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, Mollohan voluntarily resigned from the House Ethics committee, so he paid his penance.

Unless I'm mistaken, Mollohan is white and it is simply wrong for the Black Caucus to suggest that Jefferson is being treated with a double standard - Jefferson had the same choice as Mollohan to voluntarily resign and chose not to do the honorable thing.

In fact, it is the Black Caucus that has the double standard, by insisting that Jefferson, in even a worse position than Mollohan, be treated better than Mollohan simply because he's black.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

That's "aluminum foil" not "tin foil". Aluminum supplanted tin in the foil department about sixty or seventy years ago. However, "freezer" rather than "ice box" is correct.

Posted by: emjayay on June 16, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Jefferson violated the chief rule of the Democrat party: He got caught. I'm glad he got ousted, but how many Democrats are just going to be more careful not to get CAUGHT taking bribes?

And here we see the humor of it. If Jefferson hadn't been ousted, you'd have been on a tear about how awful it was. Now that he has been ousted, you're on a tear about how awful that was because it happened because he was "caught" (when else are you supposed to oust someone for corruption? before you know they've been doing it?).

Why don't you just say what you mean-- Democrats should resign their posts simply for existing-- that's what the right-wingers have indoctrinated you ignormuses with.

Posted by: Constantine on June 16, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK
And the Congressional Black Caucus should be ashamed of itself. Their job is to represent black interests, not to mindlessly defend anyone with dark skin no matter how obvious the evidence that he's a crook.

The Congressional Black Caucus has always served principally to advance the power and influence of its members, a subset of black congressmembers; that has only occasionally had anything to do with representing "black interests" more broadly. They also played a key role in torpedoing Clinton's healthcare plan, as I recall.

The "job" of the Congressional Black Caucus is about as much to "represent black interests" as the "job" of the Republican Party is to "promote small, fiscally responsible government".

Posted by: cmdicely on June 16, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

You all notice that AH hasn't posted since I called on him to support the ouster of all congressional crooks be they Democrat or Republican. Apparently he is in favor of corrupt Republicans. He just opposes corruption when it involves Democrats.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 16, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

"Simple moron or RNC shill?"

And what's the difference?

Now, if Jefferson was smart, he'd wrap himself in the flag and accuse his opponents of hating America.

Posted by: Red on June 16, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Given what I have been reading about Denny Hastart's activities earmarking road construction past his real estate development, I have to ask American Hawk if the Republicans should strip the Speaker of his position. After all feathering his own nest that way is without doubt highly unethical and maybe illegal.

I am willing to kick out every crooked Democrat in Congress if you are willing to kick out every crooked Republican. In fact I would say good riddens to all of them. Election to Congress is an opportunity to provide service to the nation, not an invitation to steal. Wouldn't you agree.
Posted by: Ron Byers

while not claiming to speak for mr. hawk, i'd like to add the names of jerry lewis and bob ney.

Posted by: Brian on June 16, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

His complaint about unfairness looks like classic American entitlement culture (and I don't mean that in a conservative/liberal way). He seems to feel that bad consequences to bad actions are a sign of fundamental unfairness.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw on June 16, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, Mollohan voluntarily resigned from the House Ethics committee, so he paid his penance.

I'd just rather see him off the appropriations committee too. At least until the FBI is done investigating his real estate deals and the earmarks to his business partners. It may be that he is being railroaded by conservatives for business as usual, but business as usual is hardly half a fig leaf to stand proudly behind.

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 16, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Kevin and Josh Marshall could get together with The Corner and Instapundit and draft a bipartisan ethics yardstick to measure candidates by -- something like the PorkBuster's meme on Glenn's site.
I'm a committed Repub, but I'm voting against my Congressman [Charles Taylor] for doing less than Jefferson, but more than should be tolerated. This despite the fact he's also on Appropriations and has brought a lot of funds into our district [here in Appalachia]. If we could all get away from the snark and ad hominums for just a little while I think the blogs could be a force for good on this issue.

Posted by: minion of rove on June 16, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

You all want a scandal that could really shake up the country. How about the new story involving 9/11 and the FBI's decision not to pursue a Minnesota company that stole 9/11 relief supplies.

Here is the beginning of the article followed by a link. "NEW YORK - Once-secret documents obtained by The Associated Press show a disaster supply management company went unpunished for Sept. 11 thefts after the government discovered FBI agents and other government officials had stolen artifacts from New York's ground zero."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060616/ap_on_re_us/sept11_thefts_7

This story is down right pathetic, but seems to be par for the course at the current DOJ.

Among the people who stole artifacts from ground zero--Donald Rumsfeld. He must have a trophy room filled with artifacts from his failures. Very perverse.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 16, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

"Among the people who stole artifacts from ground zero--Donald Rumsfeld. He must have a trophy room filled with artifacts from his failures. Very perverse."

Even more operverse, he has a piece of twisted medal from the plane that crashed into the Pentagon mounted and on his desk - on The Daily Show, they showed an excerpt of an interview where Rumsfeld pointed to it and said (paraphrasing) -"This is a wonderful reminder of what happened on that day..."

As John Stewart commented, "Wonderful? Not, "stark," dramatic, compelling?""

But I think we all know that the Bush administration views 9/11 as a fantastic excuse for advancing their agenda, whether related to 9/11 or not, rather than as a terrible tragedy for thousands of Americans.

Posted by: brewmn on June 16, 2006 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

As Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) put it, her standard was "Anybody with $90,000 in the freezer you have a problem with this Caucus."

Plus he's on tape accepting numbered bills, and those in his freezer had the corresponding numbers.

Also note, the unindicted Dem Mollohan of WVA resigned his seat on the House ethics committee, so there was no double standard white vs black. Those actions help the Democrats to take advantage of the Republican "culture of corruption". I don't think they help very much, but almost all progress is in small steps, and this contrasts favorably with the Republican treatment of DeLay and Cunningham.

Posted by: republicrat on June 16, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Jefferson got caught. He is a Democrat. First defence out of the box on why he is being singled out for prosecution....
"It's because I am black."
I think there is room in Cunningham's cell for him.

Typical liberal; don't address the issue just claim a great conspiracy is against you.

Peolosi and Rangle dumped him because he is like nuclear waste to their political careers.

Posted by: Orwell on June 16, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

I see that non_ameican Brownshirthawk has weighed in.

In today's world, we need to play scumbag poker

You repukeliscum start with cunningham, and 2.8 million in bribes. Jefferson reduces that to 2.71 million.

You are still WAY ahead in the scumbag derby

Posted by: POed Lib on June 16, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Good move on William Jefferson--even a little overdue. And I'm sure American Hawk is cheering on the purging of the GOP of all its corrupt and crooked elements. Hastert, anyone?

Posted by: LeisureGuy on June 16, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

A question: Why are you avoiding the two votes on withdrawal/nonwithdrawal of American troops from Iraq?

John Kerry said that the Senate should have a "real debate" and perhaps a revote next week. He apparently has missed the facts that we have had a real debate in the 2004 election, and pretty much continually since 1991. In most parts of the US, the Iraq war is debated everyday. It's debated at Political Animal everyday.

Posted by: republicrat on June 16, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Now, if Jefferson was smart, he'd wrap himself in the flag and accuse his opponents of hating America.

Just need to fix a typo in that:

Now, if Jefferson were Republican, he'd wrap himself in the flag and accuse his opponents of hating America.

There, now it's accurate.

Posted by: craigie on June 16, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

read about the results here:

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/06/16/D8I9CSI02.html

Posted by: republicrat on June 16, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

I see a few posters want to go after Jerry Lewis. Why? I mean, I know that the French, unaccountably, think he's a genius, but that's kind of a red-state reason to go after him. And besides, he's in bad health lately ...... What? Oh. Never mind.

Posted by: C.J.Colucci on June 16, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Just kidding. Chances are this guy represents a gerrymandered all-black district (just the way Republicans want it -- Bantustans for black voters). His successor will likely be black too.

He used to represent an majority black district (mainly New Orleans) and one the last election with something like 72% of the vote. I don't think the district is gerrymandered per se. But because of Katrina, it has probably shifted from about 60% black to about 55% white. It will stay Democratic. It will be real interesting to see who runs. I wouldn't be surprised to see Mitch Landreiu run.

Posted by: Freder Frederson on June 16, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

That of course should be "won" the last election.

Posted by: Freder Frederson on June 16, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

The guy had bricks of hundred dollar bills wrapped in tin foil

I didn't know that Jefferson worked for Halliburton in Iraq. My goodness.

Posted by: Keith G on June 16, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Orwell: Typical liberal; don't address the issue just claim a great conspiracy is against you.

And first claim out of Clarence Thomas' mouth, as well as from his supporters, was that he was being singled out because he is black.

Same for criticisms of Condi and other black Republicans.

So, much more typical of conservatives than liberals.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat: Why are you avoiding the two votes on withdrawal/nonwithdrawal of American troops from Iraq?

Because they are meaningless posturing by conservatives who think that such posturing is more important than finding solutions to America's problems and addressing the GOP's gutting of veteran benefits and the GOP's sending bill collectors after maimed soldiers in order to get back the bonuses they were paid for enlisting for a time period cut short by getting their limbs blown off in Iraq.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Are you sure you got that right about the CBC?

Really?

Posted by: Birkel on June 16, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

good point, kevin. and a gutsy and needed argument to take the race card off the table. jefferson shouldn't be able to wield his ethnicity like a shield.

Posted by: mencken on June 16, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

If Democrats are FINALLY figuring out that corrupt DEMOCRATS are bad, too, it represents significant progress, but I PARTIALLY agree with the CBC that the proof will be if and when they decide to go after crooked Democrats of pallor with equal enthusiasm.

Corruption among your own is actually a BAD thing, something that most Republicans figured out in 1974 and with occasional exceptions have never forgotten as the swift brooming of Duke Cunningham and the somewhat slower brooming of Tom Delay have reminded us. In contrast Democrats scored big electoral success in 1974 and 1976 by merely CLAIMING to be less corrupt without bothering to do much to live up to those claims. As a result Democrat attacks on alleged Republican corruption have fallen on increasingly deaf ears ever since, and this was before a whole generation of Democrats decide to forfeit the issue for life by defending Bill Clinton. In addition the end of the Democrats' news media monopoly makes the traditional double standard on corruption pretty much of a non-starter from here on out. Given a choice between a party of crooks and a party of hypocritical crooks, voters will choose the former most of the time.

IMHO the country can only benefit from Democrats actually joining the competition with Republicans over rooting out corruption among their own as opposed to simply lying about it and counting on a friendly news media to cover it up. Ironically the Democrats can only benefit from it, too.

Posted by: FredTownWard on June 16, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Fred, When you get done patting yourself on the back answer the following question, if you Republicans are so much holier than Democrats how come Hastart, Ney and Lewis are still in Congress? Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 16, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

If the FBI found $90,000 in my freezer, I think my employer would be correct to suspend me...

Posted by: doug r on June 16, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

If Kevin were gutsy, he would have something-
anything- critical of the Israeli subjugation
of the Palestinians. Throwing bricks at the CBC
is cowardice at the least. Dumb. What is wrong
with demanding fairness for your members?

Posted by: Whitey Davey on June 17, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

They weren't just bricks of $100 bills, they were bricks of MARKED $100 bills.

Posted by: Brian Boru on June 17, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

IMHO the country can only benefit from Democrats actually joining the competition with Republicans over rooting out corruption among their own as opposed to simply lying about it and counting on a friendly news media to cover it up.

Dude, seriously, are you on crack? Whats that you say? Fox news?

Never mind

Posted by: SnarkyShark on June 17, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

>>Now, if Jefferson was smart, he'd wrap himself in the flag and accuse his opponents of hating America.

Instead he wraped himself in his race and accused his opponent (in this case Pelosi) of being a racist. Hmmm maybe he is right.

Posted by: manapp99 on June 19, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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