I didn’t read much on Facebook during my fishing trip, but one of the few times I did glance at the status updates, I was sincerely amused by the postings of one of my friends who is a very vocal Nathan Deal supporter. She was aghast that a Congressman had used the power of his Congressional office for his family’s financial gain. She didn’t appear to have any appreciation/acknowledgement of the irony of the situation.
Sanford Bishop, the Democrat representing Georgia’s 2nd District, is under a bit of fire for steering scholarships from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to various relatives. It’s a bit unseemly, and does appear that he used his position to make sure his family was taken care of during this program.
Yet, we have a Republican candidate for Governor who also is accused of using the power of his office to protect a no-bid “arrangement” of which the profits seem to have been diverted to family members who later freed them back in to the wild outdoors.
Deal’s supporters in the primary, joined by others now in the general, have taken great pains to excuse this behavior. A small sampling of those who wish to stick their head in the sand and pretend this didn’t happen have used various excuses including:
1) Nobody’s perfect.
2) Don’t bring a family into a campaign.
3) What he did was not illegal.
4) He hasn’t been indicted.
5) He’s had a full career of public service, and he would have made more money in the private sector.
6) We expect too much from men to always do the right thing.
7) Voters think all politicians are self-serving, and thus, bringing this unpleasant matter up won’t change anything.
8) Taxpayer funds were not involved, so it doesn’t matter.
I’m sure we’ll have many commenters/apologists dancing on the head of a pin to explain the difference between Deal’s situation and Bishop’s. But the facts are plain. They have both used their congressional offices to make themselves and/or their families better off.
With these apologists’ excuses in mind, I routinely ignore the multiple emails I get every day from Mike Keown’s campaign and his supporters chronicling the daily, sometimes hourly revelations in the Sanford Bishop scandal. Keown clearly didn’t get the memo that we’re not supposed to look at self-serving behavior out of congress critters in this year’s election. It’s to be expected, explained away, or preferably, totally ignored.
And this is, in fact, quite a shame. Mike Keown will be an excellent addition to the Georgia delegation should he win. But the demonstrated selfishness of Nathan Deal, in refusing to admit the severity of his ethics and financial issues prior to the primary, has now placed an entire party in a position of having to pretend something other than what is the clear truth. And in the process, he has blunted the biggest arrow in Mike Keown’s quiver.
It requires open hypocrisy to support Deal in one breath, and condemn Sanford Bishop for helping get his relatives scholarships in the next.