Vote Republican: We’re not THE Party of Corruption, Just A Party of Corruption

by John Holbo on June 13, 2008

I am amused to see a post at Redstate that begins: “We all know Democrats have their own Culture of Corruption.” If the Dems have got partisan Reps trained to concede, by implication, that of course the Republicans have a capital-C Culture of Corruption … that’s pretty darn good for the Dems, eh?



stuart 06.13.08 at 10:34 am

I thought a majority of the Republican platform was based on the concept “Government is always a bad thing, and we will attempt to prove it”


Glen Tomkins 06.13.08 at 12:50 pm

Failing Conservatism

That commenter who referred to a Republican Culture of Corruption failed conservatism. Conservatism never fails.


John Emerson 06.13.08 at 1:23 pm

“They’re no better than we are” has been a primary Republican talking point for a good long time. It’s part of the inoculation strategy — accuse the other side of doing the same thing that you are doing (or planning to do), so that semi-informed uncommitted voters will decide that it’s a wash.


David in NY 06.13.08 at 1:50 pm

Thank God that John reads Redstate so I don’t have to.

You know, I think that the “they’re just as bad as we are” line isn’t working any more. People have figured out that it would be really, really hard to be as bad as the Republicans.


Brett Bellmore 06.13.08 at 1:59 pm

There’s only one party of corruption in Washington, and it’s neither Republican nor Democratic. It’s incumbents.


ejh 06.13.08 at 2:43 pm

Democrats: “we’re not as corrupt as the Republicans”.



Righteous Bubba 06.13.08 at 2:52 pm

There’s only one party of corruption in Washington, and it’s neither Republican nor Democratic.

No, it’s pretty much Republican.


John Emerson 06.13.08 at 3:43 pm

I’ve started to think that, since the Bush administration has alienated most of its ideological supporters (obnoxious as they themselves are), only con men and grafters are enthusiastic Republicans any more.

Betrayed, conned, and neglected ideological groups include little-government semi-libertarian Republicans, fiscal conservatives, nativists, and to a considerable extent, Christians. Only neocons, anti-tax country clubbers, and authoritarians have much to cheer about.

But ratfuck sleazos of the Abramoff / College Republican type are in their element.


John Emerson 06.13.08 at 3:59 pm

6: Pork and graft are two different things — you don’t get prosecuted for pork. Even if you also object to pork, there’s a distinction that has to be made. Republicans are being prosecuted for crimes of corruption.


Bave Dee 06.13.08 at 4:01 pm

“The other guys are as bad as we are” seems to be a psychological defense mechanism to allow true believers to continue voting Republican despite all the scandals. A key part of this move requires considering all corruption to be equally bad, similar to how Evangelicals think all sins are equally bad (except teh gay, I think).


noen 06.13.08 at 4:02 pm

Conservatism can never fail, it can only be failed. Doesn’t that sound familiar.

The article itself is just massive projection. Combine that with dollops of denial and a big helping of teh stoopid and you’ve got the GOP base.


robertdfeinman 06.13.08 at 4:13 pm

You mean redstate is still in business? I thought that since they had stopped asking me for money (I made the mistake of posting there for awhile, before I was banned) that they had folded.

There are two types of corruption: institutional and personal. Traditionally Dems have engaged in personal corruption: bribe taking building inspectors, or judges and the like. Paying citizens to vote (especially in Philly and Chicago) was an expected part of the Dem machine.

Repubs engage in institutional corruption: they buy up congress wholesale and subvert the law to throw business to their paymasters. If necessary they ignore law enforcement and oversight so that this type of dealing can go on unimpeded.

There is a $23 billion investigation of Iraq contractor corruption going on, but the judge has put a gag order on it to protect the guilty. The BBC is supposed to have a story on it, but I haven’t seen it yet.

Pork is a kind of institutional favoritism and along with patronage jobs has been approved by the Supreme Court over the years. It is bipartisan, but since the GOP is better at big business they know how to do it better when they are in control.


Righteous Bubba 06.13.08 at 4:36 pm

Repubs engage in institutional corruption: they buy up congress wholesale and subvert the law to throw business to their paymasters.

They also engage in the personal corruption you mentioned before.


abb1 06.13.08 at 4:54 pm

Institutional corruption is achieved by legalizing and trivializing personal corruption.

“Retiring Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., who stepped down earlier this year as chairman of the House committee that regulates the pharmaceutical industry, will become the new president and CEO of the drug industry’s top lobbying group…Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, called Tauzin’s hiring ‘yet another example of how public service is leading to private riches.’ Tauzin gets a pay package reportedly worth at least $2 million a year, making him one of the highest-paid lobbyists in Washington.”

“Tauzin switches sides from drug industry overseer to lobbyist,” USA Today, December 15, 2004.


Thomas 06.13.08 at 5:02 pm

I’ll match you abb1:

Senator Dodd received two loans in 2003 through Countrywide’s V.I.P. program. He borrowed $506,000 to refinance his Washington townhouse, and $275,042 to refinance a home in East Haddam, Connecticut. Countrywide waived three-eighths of a point, or about $2,000, on the first loan, and one-fourth of a point, about $700, on the second, according to internal documents. Both loans were for 30 years, with the first five years at a fixed rate.

The interest rate on the loans, originally pegged at 4.875%, was reduced to 4.25% on the Washington home and 4.5% on the Connecticut property by the time the loans were funded. The lower rates save the senator about $58,000 on his Washington residence over the life of the loan, and $17,000 on the Connecticut home. The former employee says the float-downs were free. Senator Dodd’s wife, Jackie Clegg, said in a brief interview that two other lenders they checked with offered comparable interest rates. The senator’s office said Thursday afternoon that it is preparing a response.


Righteous Bubba 06.13.08 at 5:16 pm

Kent Conrad’s another Democratic senator who got a break.


ejh 06.13.08 at 5:31 pm

Pork and graft are two different things—you don’t get prosecuted for pork.

Is the absence of prosecution the distinction then?


abb1 06.13.08 at 5:35 pm

Right. Much less of a direct quid pro quo there, though. Which, I suppose, is a sign of much more mature and institutionalized sort of corruption.


abb1 06.13.08 at 5:36 pm

…the Countrywide scandal, I mean.


John Emerson 06.13.08 at 6:08 pm

16: Absence of illegality. America allows a lot of legal corruption, but that’s not enough for some people. In the words of Walter Sobchak, there are rules.

Reform liberals and left-liberals often point out that the real scandal is what’s legal. But no matter how low you set the bar, it will be too high for some people.

Mostly Republicans during the Bush administration, for understandable reasons. You will still hear Republicans talking about the Democrats as the party of corruption, but a lot of their stories are decades old.

And as often as not, Jimmy Hoppa wasn’t a Democrat anyway.


John Emerson 06.13.08 at 6:09 pm



virgil xenophon 06.13.08 at 6:46 pm

Talk about laughable. The Republican party THE party of corruption? For Holbo to even purse his lips to suggest such a thing takes a lake Superior-sized vessel of unmitigated gall. I presently live in New Orleans. Wanna hear some stories about corrupt, DEMOCRATIC dominated New Orleans and Louisiana? How much time ya got?….better lay in some provisions….
I grew up in Illinois. Ever hear of Chicago politics? Guess who’s ALWAYS been in charge up there? I still have hanging on my wall a certificate signed by then Democratic Gov.Otto J.Kerner designating me an “Illinois State Scholar” for being a National Merit Scholarship finalist….its not everyone that can have a personal award signed by a convicted felon, a con sent to Federal stir. Plus I spent 20yrs in Louisville. Ah yes, the pristine world of politics in a State where registered Democrats outnumber the GOP by 2:1.So please, John Holbo, don’t wax poetic about the corrupt elephants. In case you hadn’t noticed, there are far more jackasses in this world–both human and animal–than elephants.


bi 06.13.08 at 6:55 pm

Clinton did it.

 – bi, Intl. J. Inact.


bob 06.13.08 at 7:12 pm

You don’t know history if you think Dems have “ALWAYS been in charge” in Chicago. So you’ve never heard of William Hale “Big Bill” Thompson, who was Mayor from 1915-1923, and again from 1927-1931; he openly welcomed the support of Al Capone. Quite a few Chicago mayors were Republicans until 1931, and a number of them were more or less corrupt.


Rambuncle 06.13.08 at 7:13 pm

virgil at #21 – I still have hanging on my wall a certificate signed by then Democratic Gov.Otto J.Kerner designating me an “Illinois State Scholar” for being a National Merit Scholarship finalist….its not everyone that can have a personal award signed by a convicted felon, a con sent to Federal stir.

Well, you could’ve got a personal award from former Republican Gov. and convicted felon George Ryan. Maybe it’s the state? People just can’t keep their hands clean up in Illinois.

Of course, what is laughable is how indignant you got at a post that wasn’t written(“Republicans THE party of corruption” where was that said?). But that’s an elephant for you…startle them and they just put their head down and run.


PersonFromPorlock 06.13.08 at 7:33 pm

Face it – the Republicans and Democrats are both so corrupt and incompetent that it’s an act of irresponsibility to encourage them by voting. My motto for this year: “Don’t waste your vote – don’t vote!”


Bruce Baugh 06.13.08 at 7:46 pm

That’s such stupid stuff, Person. But if you’re serious, having you personally refrain from voting might be good, in the way that it’s good not to have blind people driving on the freeways. You’re wrong about the principle but may well be right about your own moral cretinism.


The Modesto Kid 06.13.08 at 7:50 pm

I’ll match you abb1

Here I am, failing to understand how Dodd receiving favors worth a few tens of thousands over 30 years from a lender, “matches” Tauzin receiving favors worth $2 million per year from an industry group.


cjames 06.13.08 at 8:39 pm

Vigorous debate over which party is the more corrupt overlooks what is really important in a two party system, where corruption is more or less inherent.

Which party is the best at governing and providing the services government has to provide, all the while maintaining a favorable economic growth climate?

The debate should easily end there.


Thomas 06.13.08 at 8:51 pm

modesto, you’re quibbling over the price, aren’t you?

virgil, until the current guv, Illinois corruption was safely bipartisan, with Republican corruption in Springfield and Democratic corrpution in Chicago, and a gentlemen’s agreement to not step on the other’s toes. Patrick Fitzgerald was the answer to that–an answer provided by a Republican president, not a Democrat.


PersonFromPorlock 06.13.08 at 8:57 pm

Bruce Baugh:

On the contrary, the stupidity is trying to choose the lesser of two evils. In 1932, in Germany, the two parties which had a realistic chance of winning were the Nazis and the Communists. Which would you have voted for? I assume you’d have felt compelled to pick one or the other.

Now, granted, our parties aren’t ‘evil’ in the sense that the Nazis and Communists were; but do you really want to lend your approval to Republican and Democratic fecklessness by voting for either one? People who vote for an incompetent – even the lesser incompetent – are voting for incompetence. Because they haven’t the courage to say “no thanks,” they’re the enablers of bad government.


abb1 06.13.08 at 9:17 pm

In 1932, in Germany, the two parties which had a realistic chance of winning were the Nazis and the Communists.

Nah, the communists were in the third place with something like 15%. Though they could change everything by joining socia1ists who had something like 35%. But they didn’t and the rest is history.


John Emerson 06.13.08 at 9:52 pm

21: Like I said: Kerner was convicted in 1973, 35 years ago, but Virgil Xenephon remembers it like it was yesterday.

Since Gingrich took over 14 years ago, the Republicans are making up for lost time.


John Emerson 06.13.08 at 10:02 pm

Personfromporlock’s example, as Abb1 shows, has exactly the opposite significance to the one he claims. The purists of his type in 1932 Germany were the ones who refused to vote for the Social Democrats, who were indeed flawed and not inspiring. And by their abstention, they helped the Nazis gain power.

Nut they did remain pure. They did nothing to help the Nazis, and nothing to stop them.


MSS 06.13.08 at 10:10 pm

Since my Mackie and Rose hanbook is out anyway…

Germany, 1932, July (second election that year):

37.3% Nazi
21.6% Social Democrats
14.6% Communist
12.4% Centre

Seems the voters had some choices there other than being “compelled” to pick Nazi or Communist.


MSS 06.13.08 at 10:10 pm

Uh, handbook. Why can’t I see a typo till I post?


abb1 06.13.08 at 10:18 pm

the Social Democrats, who were indeed flawed and not inspiring

Hey, the SPD was a very decent political party in the beginning of the 20th century. Rosa Luxemburg, August Bebel, Karl Kautsky – good people.


John Emerson 06.13.08 at 10:54 pm

Yeah, but the 1918 SDs allowed Luxumberg et al to be killed.


John Emerson 06.13.08 at 10:58 pm



Bruce Baugh 06.14.08 at 12:25 am

For some of us, it matters that yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling was 5-4 in favor of fundamentals of law and justice, rather than 4-5 against, and we see that one party provides a lot more justices serious about that than the other. It’s a handy demonstration.


e julius drivingstorm 06.14.08 at 1:38 am

It’s time to introduce a 10-to-1 rule of corruption. If a convicted Duke Cunningham took more than ten times as much in bribes than an as yet untried Jefferson, then the Republicans cannot claim that the Dems are just as bad. Similarly, if ten times as many Repubs have sex with minors or barnyard animals than Dems do,…you get the idea.

This rule should only apply to current office-holders.


Thomas 06.14.08 at 5:05 am

e, it really doesn’t speak well for Democrats that so many of you are proud that elected Dems can be bought cheap.


abb1 06.14.08 at 6:22 am

The amount of a bribe alone doesn’t tell you if someone is cheap or expensive, you have to divide it by the value of the service provided. If Dodd didn’t do anything at all for the Countrywide, then he’s infinitely more expensive than Tauzin who’s being payed mere millions for providing the service worth billions.

So, what should be the unit of corruption to facilitate a fair comparison?


bi 06.14.08 at 9:10 am

e, abb1:

I propose Frank Bi’s Cultural Corruption Index, which is computed by taking the total amount of bribes received in US dollars, and raising it to the power of the number of incidents of sex with minors and barnyard animals, and divided by the Fibonacci number corresponding to the GDP increase in Euros.

 – bi, International Journal of Inactivism


Thomas 06.14.08 at 2:08 pm

abb1, since the mortgage meltdown is the result, I’m told so often by Dems, of regulatory failure, as in a failure to regulate, we don’t just need to ask what Dodd did do, but what he didn’t. And he didn’t do anything. As to the measure, surely it isn’t just a question of the value provided, but also of the harm caused. Can’t we draw a straight line from Dodd’s mortgage to his failure to legislate and failure to provide effective oversight to the current economic recession? Sure we can. The direct federal fiscal cost is on the hundreds of billions of dollars this year so far.


abb1 06.14.08 at 2:57 pm

You’re right that the quid pro quo may include abstaining from acting, but I’m not sure the hypothetical damage caused by corruption needs to be included into the measurement. A minor incident may inflict tremendous direct damage, ubiquitous corruption may have little discernible (palpable) result. Depending on the laws/rules/obligation being broken it can even be beneficial to everybody, but it’s still corruption.


e julius drivingstorm 06.14.08 at 6:01 pm

Frank, you may have misread me at 41. I did not intend to place sex with minors on the same level as sex with animals. Perhaps you should run two indices on your CCI to differentiate. Otherwise, your concept is obviously sound.


Rev Ray Dubuque 06.15.08 at 2:22 pm

Thank you, MSS, for correcting the misinformation spouted about the Germans having to choose between Nazism and Communism in the early 1930s:
“Germany, 1932, July (second election that year):

37.3% Nazi
21.6% Social Democrats
14.6% Communist
12.4% Centre

The “Centre” the semi-offical party of the Roman Catholic who represented 1/3rd of the German population and was crucial to Hitler’s rise to power. The year after the election above, the future Pius XII shut down this party and Catholics who had formerly been warned NOT the join the Nazi party were freed to support Hitler, Goebbels and the many other Roman Catholic leaders of the Nazi party, all of which I spell out clearly and forcefully at CatholicArrogance.Org/RCscandal .


Brett Bellmore 06.17.08 at 1:34 pm

Admittedly, “We’re not THE Party of Corruption, Just A Party of Corruption” isn’t much of a defense, but it does at least have the virtue of being true. Unfortunately.


John Emerson 06.17.08 at 4:08 pm

I think that we should grant them the title for the moment, though, Brett.

In the popular mind corruption is still associated more with Democrats, but a lot of that is because of stuff that happened decades ago. The Republicans’ opening statement is still “We’re fiscal conservatives, deficit hawks, and squeaky clean — not like those Democrats!”, but when they run into someone minimally well informed they quickly retreat to “They’re as bad as we are!”


virgil xenophon 06.18.08 at 10:56 pm

john emerson: The reason Republicans are making up for lost time in the Prairie State is that they have such a huge mountain to climb. Ever heard of Shoe-box Paul Powell(forever pronounced as one word) the Democrat Secretary of State from Southern Ill. who died in a hotel in Springfield in 1970 with $800,000.00 in a shoe-box under his bed? Whose salary never exceeded $30,000.00? Well, it was slightly more than one shoe-box; for a great read go to: ; or, alternatively,
hit,9171,942440,00.html-36k or just Google “Shoe-box Paul Powell”. He practically built modern-day SIU with all the State money he funneled into Carbondale. Google has about 20 pages on Paul in particular. And Illinois in general? Much more. Shoe-box was some kinda guy.
Unlike Kerner he beat the rap by heading by-by
ahead of the prosecutors.(PS: He also had 49 cases of whiskey, 2 cases of creamed corn and 14 transistor radios in his room–Be sure to read the entire Tom McMahon article, it’s a hoot!)


J Thomas 06.19.08 at 12:55 am

Virgil, Republicans don’t actually have to climb that mountain. It isn’t like they’re in a race to see how fast they can outdo the previous record-setting levels of corruption.

Or if Republicans are trying to win the corruption race, could we please make it easier for third parties? If Democrats are just as bad, get rid of them both.

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