Monday, December 15, 2008

Where's the outrage?

David Henderson says that the style of corruption gets the media attention, not the substance:

Interestingly, what most people have objected to is its starkness rather than its essence. Blagojevich's behavior can be divided up into three elements:

1. The exchange of political favors for personal payoffs.
2. The explicit discussion of #1.
3. His foul language.

While many people seem to object to all three, many of these same people really object only to #2 and #3. In other words, they don't really object to #1.

Why do I say that? Consider a case of #1 that received little objection. In 2005, shortly after her husband became a U.S. Senator, Michelle Obama was promoted to vice-president of the University of Chicago Hospitals, with a salary increase from $121,910 to $316,962. One of her bosses said she was "worth her weight in gold." In 2006, Obama requested a $1 million earmark for his wife's employer. How upset have people got about this? But take away the explicit exchange and the crass language and she and her husband did what he Illinois Governor did.

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