Glenn Reynolds notes that the two congressional ethics committees are off to a less than rapid start and observes, "It's like it's not meant to actually do anything."
This is a longstanding tradition in American politics, going all the way back to Mark Twain's day (Twain, of course, famously observed that America has no distinctly criminal class, except Congress. He and Gilded Age co-author Charles Dudley Warner didn't think much of the ethics committee process of their day either: "Why does the Senate still stick to this pompous word, Investigation?' One does not blindfold one's ...Continue reading
How little things change. In The Gilded Age, by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, a member of the Senate, Abner Dilworthy, is caught bribing a state legislator to ensure his reelection. Dilworthy knows how to respond:
Yes, the nation was excited, but Senator Dilworthy was calm--what was left of him after the explosion of the shell. Calm, and up and doing. What did he do first? What would you do first, after you had tomahawked your mother at the breakfast table for putting too much sugar in your coffee? You would "ask for a suspension of public opinion." That ...Continue reading