As if San Diego hasn’t gotten enough negative coverage in the major national press, today we were first column, front-page in the NY Times. A loony anti-immigrant, anti-government, anti-tax representative, Randy “Duke” Cunningham, pleaded guilty to tax evasion, conspiracy to commit bribery, wire fraud, and mail fraud. Grand total: at least 2.4 million dollars. What he said:
The truth is, I broke the law, concealed my conduct and disgraced my office. I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions and, most imporantly, the trust of my friends and family.
That was a smart thing to say. But let me tell you, Duke does not have to worry about any forfeiture of his worldly possessions. The article says he “faces up to 10 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and forfeitures.” Ahh, poor muffin. Translated: he’ll have his own prison cell for one year, house arrest in some Rancho Santa Fe mansion the next year, be forced to give up most of what he owns (or was given in bribes) and then be welcomed back into the old boys club of the Ranch. His unsavory political past will be easily forgiven by frightened, old conservatives in golf buggies thankful he had the courage to take a stand against those damned wetbacks invading our country.
Compare that with Leandro Andrade who was given two sentences of 25 years-to-life for stealing nine children’s videotapes. Why did he steal the tapes? Xmas presents for his nieces. Andrade’s earliest possible parole date is the year 2046, when he’s 87 years old.
When the news alert about Cunningham’s accepted-guilt arrived in my inbox yesterday afternoon, I forwarded it to HP suggesting he use it for his ever-insightful quote of the day series. We had been recently talking about hypocrisy. HP’s view is that it is better to be a hypocrite who encourages others to do the “right thing” than someone who encourages bad behavior (ie. a child-molesting preacher who preaches celibacy compared to a child-molesting preacher who preaches child-molesting). For me it’s a bit more complicated. I do understand what he is saying, but I can’t help but think that the best way to encourage others to “be good” is by admitting our own faults (a profoundly difficult thing to do … as I just deleted my own example of being hypocritical). HP emailed me back:
I really should post this as a quote of the day, but not as a hyporcite [sic], but more as a extreme believer in his cause, after all, if you belong to the party that believes in cutting taxes, when you avoid paying them, that doesn’t make you a hypocrite, but a (too strong) [sic]believer in your cause.
Now when Democrats do it, well that is hypocrisy….