You’re ALL out of order! Historically speaking.

MAD-Magazine-Anthony-Weiners-BackMy husband is astounded the people of New York could really seriously consider electing Anthony “The Peter Tweeter” Weiner. How can people be so dumb? Of course he knows the answer. He’s just in denial.

I reminded him how the good citizens of Washington DC elected Marion Barry, Jr. multiple times, even after he was arrested, convicted and served time for cocaine. And he’s by no means the only known criminal to be elected after being convicted and serving time. Sex scandals, corruption, bribery, extortion, armed robbery, witness intimidation, drugs, embezzlement, murder. You name a crime and we, the American people have elected someone who committed it. Was known to have committed it. Was convicted in a court of law for committing it. And we elected them anyway, frequently more than once.

And then we have the gall to complain about the poor quality of our elected representatives? And demand term limits?

We have term limits. They are called elections. If you don’t want them, don’t elect them. It’s not as if foreigners sneak over the border and vote for their own candidate. We nominate and elect them. It isn’t the Russians, the Pakistanis or the Mexicans. It’s us. And we keep doing it. If ever a nation has the politicians it deserves, it’s the USA.

It’s funny, if you’ve got the right kind of sense of humor. The Hall of Shame list is broken down by presidency, governmental branch and by scandal, many of which have cool names that resound through history. Watergate. Teapot Dome. Iran-Contra. Koreagate. Only the juiciest scandals get really good names.

The number of indictments does not represent the number of crimes. It just shows who got caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Keep in mind many people convicted under one administration were actually appointed or elected during (or by) preceding administrations. They just didn’t get nailed until years later.

nyh-08-09-1974

My vote for top scandal of my lifetime: Watergate. I doubt I will live to see anything that can touch it for sheer bizarre excitement. Watching it unfold was a total reality show immersion experience. Nowadays, they try to create reality, but that was reality. Everyday, some totally weird new stuff showed up on TV. I used to carry a transistor radio with me so I wouldn’t have to miss the daily hearings. (Note: Transistor radios were predecessors of computers. You turned them on and live sound came out, but no pictures.) I turned on the TV as soon as I got home to watch the day’s events unfold. Crazy stuff! The best live continuing series ever.

I can’t believe I’m waxing nostalgic for great scandals of the past. With all the hoopla during the Clinton and Bush administrations, nothing matched Watergate. But that was just the big one in my lifetime. Historically, although there was no electronic media to cover the event, the biggest government scandal in American history? Take a guess. Let’s not always see the same hands.

It was the Whiskey Ring scandal. It took place during the massively corrupt administration of President Ulysses S. Grant’s (R) and involved whiskey taxes, bribery and kickbacks. It ended in 1875 with 110 convictions. That’s the record, folks. Hopefully, it will never be matched, much less beaten.

Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant

Most crimes, serious or minor, were punished by slaps on the wrist. A couple of months, a small fine, probation or community service, most of which was made to “disappear” by a pardon from the next occupant of the Oval Office. Without regard for party affiliation.

In case you are detail-oriented, I put together a list of most of the elected and appointed officials on the Federal level who were convicted while holding office. It’s in a separate post, The American Hall of Shame. Originally part of this post, it was huge, so I gave it its own space. Wow, eh?

More than a few of the people who were convicted of crimes while in office were subsequently re-elected, some while still serving time. The list goes all the back to … well … George Washington. It doesn’t start to get really intense until the Reagan administration, not because there weren’t many criminals, but the because officials were virtually untouchable for many years. Everybody knew they were criminals, but no one was willing to point a finger.

Somebody might cut that finger right off. No, really.

See The American Hall of Shame for delicious details of the America’s elected and appointed criminals and scandals. History can be fun!

 



Categories: American history, Crime and Cops, Events, Government, History, Humor, Patriotism, Politics, Radio, Statistics, Television, Writing

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. Whoops! As great as THIS post is, I was referencing the following post “Hall of Shame”. All good,all so very good.

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  2. Holy Elvis Marilyn – this post alone is a reference site. Good work – we must keep our eyes on these Congress Critters and their cohort.

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    • I didn’t intend to get quite that encyclopedia. But I also didn’t realize how MUCH dirt there was to dig up. Yikes. Just editing the raw data into something like real text (it still could use more editing, but I get tired before I got finished) took me about 4 hours … and that was just formatting and editing raw material. I knew there was a lot of federal crime and criminals, but so MANY? Just imagine how many exist at the local level. In any single state, probably as many as this and likely more. Hell, in our little town we got plenty.

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      • I know how much time goes into one of these. As for “it could use more editing”, take it from a life-long editor, there’s never been a piece written anywhere anytime that the author didn’t say “it could still use more editing’. That’s why we give them deadlines!~

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  3. If you know me and all the scoundrels, thugs, killers, preverts and slimeballs I covered over nearly half a century, you know I am really laughing at myself. It’s funny and not funny. And, it casts a very large and dark shadow over those who aspire to public office to do good things.

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    • I keep saying it. If we don’t vote for them, we won’t have to put up with them. But if we keep electing them, we should stop blaming the media, the commies (are they still around?), the immigrants, the lobbyists and just look in the mirror and blame ourselves. It’s our own fault. Maybe not you and me specifically, but it takes a lotta votes to keep electing the same morons.

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  4. There is so much about the United States that is broken I’m firmly convinced we are going down the same path as the Roman Empire. Actually we’re overdue. All are institutions and values have been corrupted. The family, the church, our education system, our personal freedoms and most certainly our political system are all broken. How do we define marriage, birth, health care, mental disorders or the homeless. We’re a society in decline, rapid decline. We reprimand third world countries for human rights violations yet allow illegal aliens to pick our crops, fill service jobs and mow our lawns. We grant them amnesty, drivers licenses and soon, the right to vote. They fill a need in a country who is more in tune with their bottom line than their human rights.

    I’m glad I’m 64, over the hill and headed for the grave. I’m NOT proud to be an American, in fact I’m rather ashamed at time at how we’ve become the world’s bully. The days I look up at the raising of our flag and what it USED to stand for is over and I fear never to return.

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    • It took 1000 years for the Roman empire to fall apart. The Roman *Republic *did fine until Julius Caesar stabbed it in the back and birthed Imperial Rome. Will we do as well? Maybe. Inertia is powerful. No one wants to bother to change things and they have a point. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Politics is dirty. ALL politics is dirty, was dirty, will be dirty. It’s a dirty business. The real question is not whether it’s clean but whether it gets the important stuff done. We need effective government by people who know how to achieve important goals. Squeaky clean or covered in dirt is less important than knowing how to get a good law drawn and passed. Call me a cynic. It’s only fair. I am.

      I keep saying what no one wants to hear: we have exactly the government we deserve. Nobody is in office that we — Americans one and all — didn’t put there by voting for them.

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  5. You still have a lot to be thankful for! You should see politicians in Southern Africa…

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  6. Don’t forget the Corrupt Bargain that got John Quincy Adams elected.

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    • Nor was he the only one. How about GW Bush? And I’m trying to remember … there was a third national “stolen election” between Adams and Bush … I’ll have to look it up. History repeats, probably because times change, but people don’t. Not really. Just manners change. In our hearts we still the same fools we’ve always been. George Washington won his seat in the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1758 by spending 40 pounds on booze for his neighbors. Truly he was the father of his country.

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