Republicans’ hands are dirty in current corporate scandals
In the 8/9/02 Post Independent, your columnist Bob Richardson evaluates our recent crisis in corporate governance and correctly lays a large portion of the blame at the feet of the U.S. Congress. However, he then widely misses the mark in his reflexive partisan smear of the Democratic Party. His piece is just more of the same-old/same-old lame partisan rhetoric, couched in a smokescreen of selective memory and weak reasoning. His little anti-Democrat rant is ludicrous in its blithe ignorance of legislative history, while his myopic Limbaugh-style omissions are an embarrassment to any intelligent critic of government policy.
In his “dishonor roll” of Democratic Senators such as Daschle and Lieberman – those “pompous, incompetent, ambitious hypocrites” – Richardson conveniently omits the names of such luminaries as Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, and Phil Gramm. Were it not for the deregulatory fervor of these Republican representatives (and their eagerness to repay their corporate campaign contributors) it is likely that we would not now be subjected to this sick unraveling spectacle of shameless corporate malfeasance and fraud. Even a cursory review reveals that GOP fingerprints are all over the crime scene.
Perhaps Mr. Richardson has forgotten that the Republican Party has held a Congressional majority since 1994. The Republicans, inspired by Newt Gingrich’s Contract on America, performed a scorched-earth purge of regulatory oversight and corporate accountability provisions during their reign of terror in the 1990s. Dismantling the corporate regulatory framework, eviscerating the SEC, and encouraging a corporate “free for all” atmosphere all occurred as precursors to the meltdown in business ethics – and they all occurred under the deliberate machinations of a Republican Congress bent on deliberately confronting and overriding a Democratic president and intent on opening the floodgates for corporations to act with complete impunity.
The subsequent meltdown is the direct and (ultimately) predictable result of cornerstone Republican policy. While many members of the Democratic party are certainly guilty of aiding and abetting – hence the rise in the Green Party in 2000 – it is the GOP that held the murder weapon. Mr. Richardson now whines over Democrat grandstanding in the wake of the scandal – oh, bummer. As the Republicans amply demonstrated in the 1990s, politics ain’t always fair or honest, and this time it is the Republicans whose hands we find in the cookie jar.
Ralph Nader accurately observes that lax corporate oversight is a bipartisan problem directly traceable to our corrupt system of campaign financing. If Mr. Richardson insists on playing partisan politics with the issue, it would be more honest of him to acknowledge that the Republican Party has been in the Congressional driver’s seat for nearly a decade, and must therefore take all due credit for the descent that they instigated.
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