Her name might well have been “Rising Star,” since it seemed every news story about Kathleen Kane used that modifier. She was the first woman elected as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General and she had ambitions. Governor, maybe. Or Senator. Who knew? But she was undeniably a “rising star.” Everyone said so.
Today, Ms. Rising Star is a convicted perjurer. Two counts and those are only the top charges among the nine of which she has been found guilty. Until the verdict came in, she had refused to resign her office. This, in spite of the fact that she lost her license to practice law a year ago. So the state of Pennsylvania had, as its chief law enforcement officer, a convicted felon who could not argue a case in court. Such is the state of “public service.”
Still … she was once a rising star. After all, in 2012 Bill Clinton had endorsed her… fulsomely:
“Kathleen Kane would make a great Attorney General. She’s smart and tough. She’s prosecuted more than 3000 cases, protected senior citizens, and put child molesters and violent criminals behind bars [she] is a great Democrat who understands that an Attorney General’s job is to stand up for consumers and people. I’m proud to endorse my friend Kathleen Kane and I hope she’ll become the first woman ever elected Attorney General by the people of Pennsylvania.”
Once elected, and with her sights set on higher things, Ms. Rising Star worked those issues that she thought would further her ambitions. One of those issues was gun control and she gamed it shrewdly, refusing to prosecute cases against municipal bans of certain handguns and to enforce what is called “reciprocity” with Florida in the matter of concealed carry permits. These positions appeared to be very carefully calibrated to make them palatable to the voters of Pennsylvania; many of whom, as noted by a previous “rising star,” were inclined to cling to their guns and their religion as the world passed them by.
After the school shooting in Newton, Connecticut, Ms. Kane went on television to talk about gun control, explaining to Chris Mathews that, “… people don’t have a right to go into a classroom and take down an entire class of children in under a minute.”
Insights like that make it easy to understand why she was considered a “rising star,” and certain to go far in the world of professional office holding.
She also played the game in the true Clinton style. Which is to say… dirty and without a lot of fastidious regard for propriety or, even, the law. After all, Bill Clinton also had to surrender his law license, once upon a time.
In Ms. Kane’s case, she went too far in a remorseless effort to destroy a political enemy. She leaked grand jury testimony and, then, lied about it. One has difficulty, when reading accounts of the scandal, determining where the public good figured in. But, then, it is a spoils game in which the only point is to be the victor. Once you are victorious, then you make a run at the next and higher office. It’s what rising stars do and they cannot do otherwise.
Ms. Kane has now announced that she is resigning her office. She declined to do this before the jury had returned a verdict, saying that to do so would be to admit her guilt. But long before that, her star had gone dim and, then, cold.
One can be sure, however, that someone will come along to take her place. When it comes to rising political stars, there seems to be an inexhaustible supply.
Bad luck for the rest of us.
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