Earl sent me a link to an article about the shameful corruption that characterizes Argentinian politics. Earl included in his email a reference to the Perons, whose malevolent aura still hangs over the Argentinian political scene:
Argentina’s government has become a massive racketeering operation. The list of international swindles the government has committed entirely openly is nauseating. The Obama administration recently suspended Argentina’s privileged developing-nation status because of its refusal to pay any arbitral awards owed to U.S. companies. That was hot on the heels of Argentina’s nationalizing a Spanish-controlled oil company and then laughing publicly at the Spaniards’ claimed valuation — another brazen swindle.
What happens in Argentina matters because the government is stealing from the American pocket. It also matters because it should make us think about government corruption.
We all know that power and money inevitably lead to corruption. In some nations, however, that corruption is endemic, while in others, America included, it periodically erupts, only to be stifled by our pleasantly Puritan political morality. Yes, it continues to exist as a low, buzzing background noise, but it is not what characterizes American government as a whole. After all, we recovered from the scandals of the Harding administration, and George Bush did a good job of pulling back from the Clinton corruption abyss.
I do wonder, though, how deeply the Obama tentacles are going to spread into the American body politic. He doesn’t just to garden-variety power and money corruption; he does hard-core Chicago-style corruption. To Obama, dishonest is the nature of politics, not just a byproduct.
Nothing better illustrates Obama’s view than an anecdote culled from Edward Klein’s new (and unauthorized) biography about Obama, The Amateur. The Daily Mail summarizes this particular episode in Obama’s early political life (emphasis mine):
He also had a run-in with Steven Rogers, a wealthy businessman who became the Gund Family Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Early in his campaign for the U.S. Senate he gave Mr Obama $3,000 and arranged for thousands more dollars to be donated to him on one condition: he come and speak at the school when he got elected.
After becoming a Senator Mr Obama is said to have gone back on his offer because he was too busy and told Mr Rogers: ‘Come on man, you should know better when politicians make promises’.
In a furious tirade Mr Rogers screamed at him: ‘You’re a dirty rotten m*****f*****. What kind of s*** are you trying to pull? F*** you, you big-eared m*****f*****.’
A year later Mr Obama finally showed up but by then Mr Rogers’ had all but written him off as a friend.
(Thanks to PowerLine for highlighting this passage.)
Back in 2008, a compliant media may have convinced the American public that Obama was a blank slate of uninterrupted purity, but one of the things that’s become clear during his 3+ years in the White House is that Obama has no honor: he will say anything to obtain a political or personal advantage. He’s also surrounded himself with people who have exactly the same attitude. They reserve a tight, Mafia-style loyalty for each other, and everyone else (including the American people as a whole) is treated with contempt, disdain and dishonesty.
We know what Obama is. There are no more surprises, just ugly details. But the important question is whether Obama will leave one more dirty mark on America, to go along with a damaged economy, massive debt, weakened national security, etc. Will he have made corruption a permanent, inevitable, and pervasive part of American politics?