My favorite show ten years ago was The Shield. In it, a very good police officer named Vic Mackey is promoted to lead a brand new elite police unit, but given arrest goals that are impossible to meet, with the promise that he’ll lose his job if he fails to meet them. To meet his goals, Vic breaks laws and becomes a dirty cop. Vic believes he can contain his use of dirty police techniques, doing enough dirty policing to meet the arrest numbers necessary to keep his job (and those of the rest of his unit), but almost immediately Vic needs to start using dirty police techniques to cover-up prior uses of dirty techniques. The show lasted seven seasons, and the basic plot was always the same: Vic and his cohorts were always one more crime away from putting the need to use crime behind them, while each new crime put them even deeper in the hole.
Politicians are just like Vic Mackey.
I’m not going to say that there are no clean politicians, but politicians need to be elected and re-elected, and winning elections costs money. Most politicians start out with high ideals and lofty goals, but quickly learn that they have to sacrifice their integrity on some issues in order to hold office, such that they can forward their beliefs on other issues. One does not sell their soul to the devil for free, and these politicians may truly believe that selling their integrity on issues they care less about will enable them to forward causes they feel are vastly more important, but just as Vic Mackey found he needed to continuously break the law to avoid getting caught for past laws he had broken, so too politicians are forced to sell more and more of their integrity to cover up the fact that their integrity is already sold.
One of the first cases of corruption in US government history goes all the way to George Washington, who, in addition to being President, was also the country’s largest whiskey producer. President Washington had a tax imposed on all whiskey, except his own, causing the first armed revolt in our nation’s history, known as the Whiskey Rebellion.
An even earlier case of corruption involved Thomas Jefferson, who, under the Articles of Confederation, purchased a bunch of swampland – some in Virginia and some in Maryland – for pennies on the dollar (in terms of the value of the land). Jefferson then sold that land to the United States government, for dollars on the penny. The land became the nation’s capital.
In modern times, Dianne Feinstein’s husband recently secured a contract with the federal government in which his company will help sell 56 post office buildings, and in return his company will get $1 billion in commissions.
The most important document in American history, after the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, might be the Russian dossier on Donald Trump. If the information in the dossier is factual, then Donald Trump is grossly unfit to hold any public office anywhere in the world, and most of his campaign team, including himself, should go to prison. If on the other hand the information in the dossier is fiction, then the Hillary Clinton campaign colluded with a British spy and the Russian government, along with the Democrat National Committee, to tamper with and throw the 2016 election. Understand that the Obama White House used that dossier to secure a secret FISA court order, enabling Obama to spy on the Trump campaign, and that information obtained by spying on the Trump campaign that was politically damaging to Trump was released to the press. After the election, during the transition period, President Obama used the dossier as the basis to throw the full weight of the FBI and the Department of Justice on President-Elect Trump, sparking an investigation that has had a huge impact on Trump’s ability to lead. If the dossier is fake, Hillary Clinton, most of her campaign, and much of the Democrat National Committee, belong in prison for tampering with a federal election, and colluding with at least two foreign powers in the process. If the information in the dossier is fake, then President Obama committed and act of insurrection, along with much of the FBI and Department of Justice – all of whom should be in prison for the rest of their lives. I cannot think of anything more corrupt than an outgoing President using a document known to be false (and salacious) to mobilize the FBI and Department of Justice in undermining the incoming President. If that happened, it is the biggest crime in US history.
I do not believe Barrack Obama envisioned committing the biggest act of sedition in US history when he was first sworn into the Senate, in January 2005, and for that matter, I do not believe Hillary Clinton envisioned running a multi-billion dollar political bribe racket (known as the Clinton Foundation) when her husband was elected Governor of Arkansas, in 1978. I do not believe politicians start out planning to be corrupt. I think, rather, they believe – just as Vic Mackey did – that they can control the corruption, but that eventually the corruption controls them.
Donald Trump was elected specifically because he was not a politician, and was rich enough not to have to sell his soul to anyone to get elected. Democrats deride Trump for these very reasons, but now Democrats are looking at Oprah Winfrey, who has the exact same draw.
I like Oprah Winfrey. I used to enjoy her show, and my wife subscribes to her magazine. Would I vote for her if she ran for President? Probably not. She has not drawn a political platform, but based on what she has said in the past she is probably pretty liberal. I am not liberal, so I am not apt to agree with her on economic policy. That said, until she comes up with a platform, I don’t really know for sure whether or not I would support her. All I know is that my support, or lack thereof, would be based on my agreement, or lack thereof, with her platform. How many Democrats can say the same of Trump? I would certainly rather see an Oprah Winfrey presidency than a Diane Feinstein presidency. While Oprah Winfrey is a billionaire and Diane Feinstein is worth ‘only’ $70 million (her husband is worth another $50 million), Oprah Winfrey made her fortune through hard work and talent, whereas the only asset Diane Feinstein has ever had is her political power. I might not agree with Oprah Winfrey, but Oprah is far too rich already to have to become the next Vic Mackey, whereas Dianne Feinstein had her Vic Mackey transition decades ago. Nancy Pelosi, incidentally, is worth $120 million. I think her Vic Mackey transition occurred before she was even born.
I should not pick on Democrats alone. There are plenty of corrupt Republicans out there as well – far more than Donald Trump, or Oprah Winfrey, could ever hope to overcome. The entire system is corrupt, and it breeds corruption, leaving us with a government that is completely broken, and run by a whole cadre of Vic Mackeys.