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Filed Under Politics

Political Scandals Become Too Complicated

Posted October 18, 2005

Political scandals are in the news almost every day. But can anyone possibly pay attention? The art of scandal-making has left the mainstream, and become akin to modern dance. Tom DeLay is indicted for golfing in Scotland. Bill Frist is investigated for insider trading. Yawn. And the biggest news today involves a New York Times reporter, a CIA operative who used her maiden name as an alias, and a scapegoat from the White House who will certainly fall on his sword. Didn't I see that movie already? There needs to be a return to our roots, as when Boss Tweed defrauded New York City for millions of dollars.

Watergate was a high watermark for the modern political scandal. Republicans stole shit from the Democrats. This elegant simplicity harks back to when Aaron Burr murdered Alexander Hamilton in a duel. But with Abscam and Iran Contra, involving countries people couldn’t possibly find on a map, the modern scandal has become too technical. A low point was achieved with Whitewater, a scandal that didn't even happen, about shady real estate investments, something each of us dreams of every day.

The consequences of current scandals involve little hard time. Tom DeLay is a powerful member of Congress, and if Bill Frist should get any of the treatment afforded to Martha Stewart, another inside trader, he’ll have his own Apprentice-style television show within the year.

Scandal watchers such as myself are concerned. There are so many outlets – the internet, video games, movies, television, Bigfoot conventions - and each peels away eyeballs from our political scandals.

If our leaders in Washington don’t put some real effort into their misbehavior, the public may stop noticing them at all. Films such as the Manchurian Candidate show just how far scandal has to go to return to its golden age.

To correct this course of action, I suggest an award ceremony – the Milhouse, awarded to recognize the best scandal makers of our time. Perhaps there would be a number of categories, such as Best Felon, Most Embezzled, with a special achievement award for Grandstanding and Denial. I can just hear Mr. DeLay at the podium, riveting the crowd with his denial speech: "This is one of the weakest, most baseless indictments in American history. It's a sham."



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