Editor's Desk

Buckrakers McAuliffe and Reich

Democrats come in all shapes and sizes -- and some even make money (relatively) honestly.

By 2.14.02

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GLOBAL CRISS-CROSS: In this strange biased world or ours you'll have to turn to a new Canadian site, Iconoclast.ca, to find an endorsement of a ground-breaking "Washington Times" editorial on Democrats and the collapse of Global Crossing.

"It's Valentine Day," the Iconoclast notes, "a traditional day for gift-giving between sweethearts. And talk about sweetheart deals, did you hear about the one Democratic National Committee Chairperson Terry McAuliffe made in 1997, and the quick 17.9 million dollars in profit he picked up?

"Well neither did readers of the New York Times, the Washington Post or Canada's Globe and Mail. Come to think of it, neither did viewers of ABC or CBS News, or radio listeners tuning to CBC Radio or NPR. This is a Democratic Party scandal the liberal media preferred not to dwell upon -- or, in most cases, not to even mention....

"The gist of the matter is that Mr. McAuliffe, Bill Clinton's parting gift to the Democratic Party, turned a 'lucky' $100,000 stock investment in now bankrupt Global Crossing into a nifty 17.9 million dollar profit."

And as the "Washington Times" continues: "Mr. McAuliffe, after all, was given the opportunity by Global Crossing founder Gary Winnick to buy into the telecommunications firm on the ground floor in 1997. At the time, Mr. Winnick extended Mr. McAuliffe the timely investment opportunity, a cynic might note, the Democratic Party's chief fund-raiser was universally known as President Clinton's best (male) friend....

"Then, in 1999, Mr. Winnick found himself playing golf with Mr. Clinton, a priceless outing arranged by the president's buddy and chief fund-raiser [McAuliffe]. Mr. Winnick soon pledged $1 million to Mr. Clinton's presidential library, while his company chipped in more than $1 million in soft money to the Democratic Party during the 1999-2000 election cycle. (As Global Crossing's stock price was plunging toward 7 cents, the firm tossed more than $400,000 in soft money to the Democrats in 2001 before laying off 2,000 workers last month and canceling their health insurance.)

"In return, Global Crossing was awarded a $400 million Pentagon contract last spring, the fruits of a questionable bidding process that had taken place during the Clinton administration. Indeed, after other bidders bitterly complained, the Bush administration rescinded the contract within a month. Meanwhile, the value of Global Crossing continued its plunge, falling from a market capitalization peak of nearly $60 billion, when Mr. McAuliffe bailed, to virtually nothing by last month. On Jan. 28, Global Crossing declared bankruptcy, essentially destroying all value for its shareholders. But not before Mr. McAuliffe's benefactor, Mr. Winnick, pocketed $734 million for himself by selling stock that is now worthless."

Six days before Global Crossing's collapse, the amazing Mr. McAuliffe declared: "Enron is a metaphor for the Bush administration. The wealthiest people took their money off the table."

REICH YOU ARE: At least two bloggers have picked up on the latest doozie of applied liberalism, namely the news reported by the "Boston Herald" that Brandeis economist and former Clinton Secretary of Labor Robert Reich earned more than $750,000 in corporate speaking fees last year, all expenses paid -- and now he's running as a reform candidate in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race. So much for "Take the money and run" merely being the name of Woody Allen's first movie. A newer slogan might be: "A fool corporation and its money are easily parted."

Reich seems to be enjoying his ride -- he even provided the "Herald" with all the relevant records from his numerous speaking engagements -- for at least 43 of which he charged nothing. It would appear that he simply likes to talk, first come, first served.

Notice too that no one is paying attention to the one interesting thing he's been arguing over the last year: that his fellow Democrats shouldn't get caught up in singing the virtues of budget surpluses. Like all true liberals since at least the New Deal, Reich is honest enough to sing the praises of Keynesian deficits and public spending as the means by which his Democratic Party can create constituents and extend the reach of government.

Sometimes he puts the argument in a way that might be even be worth paying for. Here's what he wrote in the "New Republic" last fall (the piece is available on his campaign website), in an article entitled, "Spend the Social Security Surplus":

"What's going on here? Once upon a time, when consumers and corporations tightened their belts as they are doing now, Democrats would call for the government to fill in the gap and spend more than it was taking in. And, even in good times, Democrats used to champion long-term investments in America's productive future, even if it meant modest deficits. Today, by contrast, Democrats are demanding a balanced budget and spending cuts in the face of a potential recession. Goodbye, John Maynard Keynes. Hello, Herbert Hoover. Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt may think it's good politics to paint Bush as an irresponsible manager of the federal budget. But it's actually the Democrats who are being irresponsible -- by abandoning their traditional commitment to fiscal stimulus and government spending and, in the process, mortgaging our economic future."

A Democrat calling Daschle and Gephardt irresponsible? Maybe he's also on the RNC's payroll.

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About the Author
Wlady Pleszczynski is editorial director of The American Spectator and the editor of AmSpec Online.