Sen. Ted Stevens has been the talk of the town in Washington this week, and no doubt also in his home state of Alaska.
There is no doubt Stevens has dedicated his long political life to reaping benefits for his state. What seems to be questionable at this point is whether or not he accepted personal bennies without disclosing them.
I’m no Beltway Buff. I think politics can be very interesting, but I get pretty tired of the corruption on both sides of the aisle. What I have come to accept, however, is that you just don’t get things done in Washington without scratching a few backs and greasing a few palms.
Isn’t this true in most places?
Don’t get me wrong: I think we have to discourage this kind of behavior as much as possible, but it’s the way things have run in politics since “et tu, Brute.” There is no loyalty in democracy.
The way I see it is if you’re going to bring down a sitting senator who has served for decades and can’t be too many elections away from retirement, shouldn’t it be for something mind-blowing?
Worst case here is that he accepted home remodeling in exchange for the opportunity for some government contracts and he decided not to disclose it. The best case is that he forgot to disclose it, and Veco didn’t get contracts directly because of it.
In a decade in which seemingly respectable elected officials in Washington have been accused of inappropriate philandering with underage pages and soliciting sex in public bathrooms, the Stevens case simply does not blow my mind.
I’m the last one to call him Uncle Ted. I’ve laughed with the rest of “The Daily Show” viewers as he described the Internet as a “series of tubes” and at various other temper tantrums on the Senate floor. But c’mon, guys. He’s 84 years old.
I find myself recalling the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal. It just feels like a huge waste of American money, and to what end? So we end up with a sound bite and a trite phrase or two?
So Stevens spent some lobbyists’ money to fix up his house (which is not exactly palatial), and now the feds want to spend my money prosecuting him.
I say let the good folks of Alaska decide his political fate.