Who Will Clean Up Our Political Cesspools?

Criminality in government, cronyism, access purchased by special interest money -- these were ills which the new politics of then-candidate Barack Obama were supposed to cure. But these very things have become an epidemic of sorts, even after the election of the Agent of Change.

While much of the scandalous conduct which is now making headlines preceded Obama's election, not all of it did. And he doesn't seem terribly moved to do much about it now that it has come to light. As a result, one can sense a wave of disappointment lapping up on the political shore. A sense of queasiness is settling in that hope for an end of business as usual is nothing more than a pipe dream. Once again, it seems that ethical conduct and reform will take a back seat to party politics. Rather than New Politics we have an epidemic of indifference to corruption.

Let's take the Bernard Madoff scam. Billions were lost by unwary and excessively trusting investors. The storyline perpetrated by the MSM has been that this is further evidence of the deregulation craze for which they hold the Bush administration responsible. Perhaps. But perhaps it something far worse. Madoff was a major Democratic donor, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to powerful Democrats who were in a position to potentially regulate his business or uncover his crimes. But there has been no call for an investigation into whether the SEC was ever called off the chase by the Democrats who sat in oversight roles -- and received Madoff's campaign cash.

Which comes to an interesting phenomenon: we haven't seen the ordinarily omnipresent Senator Chuck Schumer lately. He made headlines in the New York Times for his sweetheart relationship with the financial institutions which were subject to regulation and legislation that came before his committees. They gave boatloads of money to him and his Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. He took the money and made clear to all who would listen (and who would tell their generous friends)  that he would go easy on regulation and investigation. Now, Madoff was a top Schumer and DSSC donor. Did he and Schumer ever meet? Were there discussions about Madoff's operation? Was Schumer aware of the SEC investigation? We don't yet know.

It is odd indeed that the usual camera-craven Schumer has not been out calling for a full investigation and explanation for how Madoff got away with his scheme for so long. Why isn't he popping up on the Sunday talk shows, as is his custom, to demand that one of his Senate committees get the bottom of this? It might be that for once Schumer would like to be forgotten. When he does reappear, some enterprising reporter might ask about any contacts he had with Madoff -- or on behalf of Madoff.