Rep. Alan Mollohan has temporarily left the House Ethics Panel, hoping to help Democratic leaders stem damage to their "Republicans are corrupt" message.
-I doubt Mollohan's departure is "temporary." If anything about his earmarks scandal sticks, he won't be back.
-Democrats are foolhardy to think that this move cleans up their act sufficiently to go after Republicans. Pelosi is painting Mollohan's scandal as a partisan attack to provide cover for GOP scandals. But the record so far is clear: Republicans aren't protecting their politicians from corruption charges (readers of this blog differ on whether that's a proper response -- I think they should presume innocence until guilt is proven, but not undertake a Clintonian scorched Earth policy to protect guys who could very well be guilty as sin). Duke Cunningham's out of the House and convicted. Tom DeLay is out of leadership and on his way out of the House. Frankly, the dirty Republicans are behaving like Democrats did when they ran the show. As such...
-If Democrats really want to go down this road, a brief white paper listing Democratic scandals from just 1980 to 2000 would make a helpful point. We could begin with Clinton's lax control of military technology and China's subsequent leap ahead in military strength and technology. That's not petty stuff -- it helped transform China into the grave threat it is today.
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