What is the sound of one hand clapping?
As one of the few Americans who stayed awake or tuned in long enough to see the Democrats’ response to President Bush’s State of the Union address last night, I was not particularly bowled over. And that’s putting it mildly.
There was one striking aspect of the speech by newly elected Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, but the problem is that it was striking only by its conspicuous absence. Kaine didn’t mention the word “corruption” a single time – not once. Nor, for that matter, did the word “Abramoff” cross the governor’s lips.
Did the Democrats think there was a shortage of material on this subject? If so, here’s a quick review of just the past six months, which might help jog their memories and get them back on message:
- Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) was forced to step down from his majority leader position after being indicted for money-laundering in Texas.
- Former Republican superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, a close friend and colleague of Tom DeLay as well as Bush’s political guru, Karl Rove, has pled guilty to bribery and related crimes in the largest corruption scandal to hit Washingtonin decades.
- President Bush is stubbornly refusing to discuss the many meetings Abramoff had within the White House.
- Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.) had to resign after admitting he took up to $2.4 million in bribes, and is probably facing jail time as a result.
- Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) has been identified as “Representative #1” in the Abramoff indictment, and has been forced to step down as chair of the House Administration Committee while the federal investigation continues.
- David Safavian, the Bush administration’s top federal procurement official, was arrested and charged with lying and obstructing the criminal investigation into Jack Abramoff’s dealings.
- Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, “Scooter” Libby, was indicted for lying to a grand jury in the investigation of who leaked the identity of former CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame.
- Members of Congress are taking trips to lavish resorts courtesy of special interests and their lobbyists.
- Lobbyists are raising millions of dollars for the very members of Congress they lobby.
- The House ethics committee has failed to launch a single investigation into any of this.
- Millions of senior citizens are failing to get basic medicine under the new Republican Medicare drug plan, a $500 billion monstrosity written to benefit drug companies and the HMO/insurance industry…and states are having to pick up the tab, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
- Oil companies like Exxon-Mobil are making record, profits — $10.7 billion for Exxon-Mobil in just the last quarter of 2005 — while you pay record prices for gas and heating oil… yet the energy bill passed by Congress last year delivers billions in taxpayer subsidies to these same oil companies.
All this, and the Democrats did not see fit to mention the word “corruption” in their official response…not even once? Not to sound clichéd, but where’s the outrage?