One of the fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats usually becomes evident when there’s a scandal. When Republicans are caught misbehaving, they normally resign. Recall Rep. Livingston who immediately called it quits over a sex scandal. By contrast, Bill Clinton, with the solid support of his party, was clinging to power even though he had committed perjury in connection with a sex scandal. If such Republicans aren’t inclined to resign, the odds are good that either their caucus or their constituents will promptly toss them overboard.
It doesn’t seem to work that way for Dems, though. In the latest example, the good people of Louisiana’s second district have resoundingly re-elected their corrupt Democratic representative William Jefferson. His margin in the run-off election with fellow Democrat Karen Carter was 57-43.
Jefferson is the subject of a bribery investigation. When the FBI raided his congressional office, it found $90,000 in $100 bills believed to have been paid as part of a bribe to help a Kentucky firm expand its business in Nigeria. A Louisville businessman has pleaded guilty to paying Jefferson $400,000. A former Jefferson aide has also pleaded guilty in the bribe scheme.
Jefferson isn’t the only shady Dem to be easily re-elected this year. Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia is under investigation for setting up a network of nonprofit organizations to administer the millions of dollars appropriated to various endeavors in his district, and using them to skim off a portion of the money. During the period in question, Mollohan’s assets grew from no more than $565,000 to at least $6.3 million.
Mollohan won re-election without difficulty. And now, reportedly, the Democratic leadership will allow him not only to keep his seat on the Appropriations Committee, which he used to steer the money into his district (and ultimately into his pocketbook), but also to assume leadership of a subcommittee through which he can control the purse strings of the the FBI (and the rest of the Justice Department) which is investigating him.
These results help explain the difference in the behavior of Democrats and Republicans who have gone astray, and the divergent reactions of their party. Republican voters simply demand much more from their candidates than Democrat voters do, and the candidates and the party bosses react accordingly. In the long term, this is an advantage for Republicans.
It also means that, as much as Democrats hate to hear it, Republican voters are, in fact, “values” voters and their party, at least as compared to the Democrats, is the party of values.
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