There really are two Americas, Glenn Reynolds writes:
So in a way we have found a new kind of politics. We’ve gone from a “culture of corruption” in which people who figured in scandals (can you say “Duke Cunningham”?) faced actual consequences, to a culture of impunity, in which it’s taken for granted that the rules for big shots are different.
Don’t pay your taxes? If you run a dry cleaning shop in Cincinnati, the IRS will come down on you like a ton of bricks. But if you’re a congressman or a former senator or a Treasury nominee, you can just sheepishly pay up, perhaps even , as in Daschle’s case, without being assessed any penalties.
For that matter, an IRS field agent with these tax problems would have been cashiered, but Geithner, who will have the IRS under his supervision, gets the job anyway.
Ordinary Americans can be excused for thinking that there are two sets of rules: One for the bigshots, the connected, the Made Men of Washington D.C., and another for everyone else.
The Obama Administration may well ride out these particular scandals, and get its chosen nominees into office. Republicans may even let them, on the theory that an admitted tax-evader will probably find it harder to back tax increases on the rest of us.
And, besides, the Republicans in Congress who would be asking the questions are Made Men themselves. But the damage to the polity will remain.
Indeed. Read the whole thingTM.