The biggest crime of all

People, it is said, are judged by the company they keep.

GOP Presidential wannabe Fred Thompson jets around the country on a plane owned by a drug dealer.

A top fundraiser for Democratic Presidential frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton turned out to be a criminal on the lam.

Even holier-than-thou Mormon Mitt Romney found himself saddled with a top aide who posed as a cop and then ran like hell when another supporter, Sen. Larry Craig, copped a plea for trying to get a blowjob in an airport men’s room.

At least one member of the administration of every President for the last 40 years has gone to jail for criminal activity. So have 217 men and women who have served, at one time or another, in Congress.

We are a nation ruled by criminals and led by Presidents who associate with lawbreakers.

Former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean served time in the federal pen for his part in the Watergate fiasco. In his book, Blind Ambition, Dean talked about spending time in stir with Mafia hit men who told him that Nixon was a “bad President and an even worse crook.” Good crooks, they said, don’t get caught.

So if you apply that standard to the crooks that dominate our government, it’s easy to see why this nation is in so much trouble. We can’t even elect good crooks to office.

Perhaps our problem stems from a human fascination with crooks. They become folklore legends: Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Al Capone, John Dillinger, John Gotti. A criminal conviction adds to a crook’s marketability. Gordon Liddy went to jail for his role in Watergate and came out with a book deal and a radio gig.

Consider this: More than 500 best selling books from the last 25 years were written by ex-cons who capitalized on their crimes and their time in prison. More than half the producers of television and movies in Hollywood have criminal records, mostly drug-related offenses. So do many actors and actresses. Many of the stories about suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, headed for jail on dog fighting charges, have focused not on the heinous nature of his crimes but on the effect the conviction will have on his “marketability” and the Falcons Super Bowl chances.

Former Ohio Congressman Jim Trafficant went to jail for conspiracy but current Congressman James Moran of Virginia is a known wife beater with a record of assaulting anyone who disagrees with him, including his colleagues in Congress.

Former GOP Congressional leader Tom DeLay is still under investigation and indictment for multiple crimes but shows up on political talk shows as a “political expert.” So does John Dean, an ex-con who not only went to jail for his crimes but escaped further punishment by ratting out his boss.

As a society we have become dismissive of those who break the law. Scandal dominates so much of the news that we suffer from scandal fatigue and look for ways to accept, not condemn, criminal behavior.

So should we be surprised when so many of our candidates for President surround themselves with criminals and others with questionable ethics?

We’re not surprised but we should be upset.

Sadly, the fact that we are not may be the most criminal part of this whole mess.


  1. SEAL

    Hank, If Obama or another one of these knotheads were to go the route I recommend, I have several of my former old and young Shipmates that will be there for them around the clock. We have discussed it for some time and everyone is committed. I would coordinate it. I’m no braggard but this would be the sharpest, deadliest security team in history. 16 of them. For this, they will work for average pay, too. Cheaper than Blackwater, that’s for sure.

  2. hank-the-nite-watchman

    Call me a cynic but I fear it is very nearly too late to wrest our constitutional heritage from the fascist elements currently calling the shots (pun intended), i.e, the republicrap-democons feeding at the trough in D.C. If Obama were to take Seal’s strategy and run with it, he should surely get a doubly carefully screened Secret Service detail, get a devoted personal food taster, avoid all but major public airline transportation, equip his home with a top state-of-the-art security system, etc. Otherwise, sadly, there’s no way he would be around in 2012.


  3. SEAL

    What follows is a letter I sent to Obama’s election committee people. This is only an attempt to build a fire under someone in the political spectrum, anyone, to make something positive happen. Please do not consider this as my personal opinion of Barak Obama – it is not. He just happens to be the person at the place and time to create another political party either within the democratic party or as an independent that we so desperately need. So please do not come back at me with you “don’t think he is the right person.” I don’t know if he is or isn’t. But I sure would like to find out.

    Dear sirs:

    Barak Obama is a unique American in a unique position at a desperate time in our country’s history. But if he wants to actually make a difference he must win the presidency. You win by playing hardball.

    The best chance he has for capturing the nomination of the democratic party at the national convention is to inform the democratic national committee that if they continue their course of perpetuating the Bush – Clinton –Bush – Clinton dynasty by preordaining Hillary Clinton as the next president, that he will run as Independent in the upcoming national election which will ensure the Republicans will retake the White House in 2009.

    Anyone with half a brain knows that Obama’s popularity and support would, even as an independent, draw a sufficient number of votes from Hillary in next November’s election to cause her to be defeated and whoever the republicans run will win. Barak must forget about party loyalty. And he wants to alienate the “Washington DC old boy” core of the party. They are the problem. If Barak were to capture the nomination it would break their hold on the party and Washington politics. But by threatening them with an independent campaign in the general election he would give them no choice but to throw their support behind his candidacy if they want to win the White House in 2009.

    This cannot be an idle threat. If the party fails to reject Hillary Clinton and nominate her, Barak must go public and become the head of the new “Independent” third political party that is so desperately needed in this country. The reality is that we no longer have a two party system as evidenced by the democrat congressional majority continuing to enable the criminal Bush/Cheney regime. Their failure to discharge their sworn duty and impeach this pair is absolute proof of their complicity.

    Barak is the right man at the right time to save this nation. Failing to capture the nomination and the presidency in 2009 would actually be a victory that sets him on the right course to remake our political system as, once again, a democratic system of real choices at the polls instead of handpicked enablers spoon fed to the public spouting faux issues. During the ensuing four years he would be the public face to lead the others who are actually concerned about the nation’s present destructive course and want to wrest it from cannibalistic corporate control and return it to the “people.” Independent party candidates would be challenging across the board in the 2012 elections, all with the same message. There would be a significant number of Independent victories and a growing support from the silent majority of “we the people” that understand the danger we, as a nation, face due to the criminal policies of a political system determined to enslave by bankrupting us, wiping out the checks and balances and the oversight, and continuing to further abolish our rights enshrined in our Constitution with signing statements and executive orders as Bush has been doing for seven years.

    I only pray that Barak Obama realizes who he is and how important he is to the fate of this nation. I hope he takes my advice and attacks the system that is attacking him and us. There are no great men – only men who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances and do great things. This is Barak Obama’s opportunity to be such a man.

    Failure by him to acknowledge this letter, whether to agree or disagree, will tell me if he is such a man.

  4. keith

    I’ve always found it fascinating that our culture will blissfully allow all manner of illegal shenanigans to be perpetrated by our elected officials, both in and out of office.

    But just let one of them be found with a certain part of their anatomies in the help (or tapping their feet “inappropriately” in an airport restroom), and all hell breaks loose.

    We are a nation that supposedly prides itself in allowing personal freedom and social “enlightenment”. Yet we continue to let an ever-shrinking minority of tongue-wagging busybodies and hypocrites obsessively foist their horribly misplaced moral agendas on the rest of us.

    Our culture’s seemly preoccupation with (and prudish over-regulation of) things sexual (particularly regarding what consenting adults can or cannot do in their private lives) is, to me, even more disgusting than letting the clearly illegal behavior of crooked politicians continue to go unpunished.

  5. SEAL

    For 30 years I have been saying that the solution is to add another category to the election ballot – (e) none of the above. If (e) wins we start all over with another election vote in 3 months.

    Also, it should be required that, in order for any candidate to be elected to any office, they must receive more than 50% of the adult eligible vote in their district, state, or nation. If not enough of the “eligible” voters turn out to make a majority, then that district has no representation because they don’t deserve it. That goes for the nation as well.

  6. Stratocaster

    An ethics committee should be seeing to it that the president doesn’t oversteps his bounds. The head of that committee is a presidential apointee, and we’re wondering what the problem is? Well, DUH!

  7. ekaton

    Actually the executive branch has very little constitutional power. Over the years bad precedents have been set and allowed to stand, such as executive orders and signing statements, ignoring subpoenas, entering into war without a congressional declaration (Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iran, Kosovo, Nicaragua, Colombia, and many others). The presidency has been allowed to usurp and accumulate nearly unlimited power.

    — Kent Shaw