Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Louisiana - The Lower 48's Alaska

Well, Alaska is not alone in their voting populous not really caring if their politicians are law abiding politicians. Breathing is apparently the only qualification that one needs to be re-elected in Louisiana as well. Seriously, what is wrong with you people?

William Jefferson, a Republican, seven term congressman from Louisiana, was just re-elected last week for his eighth term. That's a pretty amazing feat in and of itself, getting elected to Congress eight times. But what I find incredibly amazing (or maybe just incredible. Definitely unbelievable.) is that the guy was re-elected to his eighth term even though he is currently under a Federal indictment of 16 charges for bribery, racketeering, obstruction of justice and money laundering. When the FBI searched his home, they found $90,000 in cash in the freezer! Probably next to a bag of peas! I know of no people who keep $90,000 in cash in their freezer.

Of course, that's not all they had on him. It's alleged that there is a videotape of Mr. Jefferson accepting cash bribes to the tune of $100,000 in $100 bills. Oh, and it's probably also worth noting that two of his associates have already pled guilty to soliciting bribes on his behalf. Said associates are now in prison with one of them serving eight years in prison and the other one serving seven. If Jefferson is found guilty of all of his charges, he faces a maximum of 235 years in prison, a number of years so ridiculous, I don't know why they even bother with the actual figure. 'For the remainder of his life, most likely' is a good enough explanation for me of what sort of time he's facing. I don't need to know that if he does manage to live well beyond the typical human lifespan capacity and make it to 235 years old, that he will be spending that longevity behind bars.

We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes over several years. The indictment alone is 95 pages long! They watched the guy as part of a public corruption probe for over 14 months! And you folks voted him BACK into office with 57 percent of the vote! He had 90K in his freezer!! What are you people thinking?

According to the folks over at the McPaper, USA Today, a one Eugene Green, Jefferson's chief of staff, said that he believes that folks voted for Jefferson because "many in his district, the only predominantly African-American one in the state, perceive him as being a key figure in helping the region bounce back from the wallop of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005." Well, how come I keep hearing about how the region has not bounced? And those were three years ago. You'd hope, wouldn't ya, that things would have bounced by now? Do you think that it took three years because he was bouncing all by himself? I don't think that's a good enough reason. What else do you have?

Well, the article continues to say that "This summer, Jefferson helped lead a delegation of House leaders, including Democratic Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, on a tour of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast." Wait. What? Because the man is a good tour guide it was reason enough to vote him back into office?! And if you're wondering why it was important for the article to mention that James Clyburn was there, that's a reasonable inquiry. One which I don't have an answer for because the article didn't say. (Perhaps he's just a difficult person to take on a tour. You know, the kind always hopping over the velvet ropes, not staying in line, those sorts of things.)

His brown nosing chief of staff also added "I don't think you can be in Congress as long as he's been without having made good relations with your colleagues. It's because of those relationships that he's been so effective." And I don't think you can work for a politician for as long as I'm guessing you have without being able to throw out a line of bull-s every time you open your mouth to defend him. Spare me.

So, basically what the voters are saying is that if they perceive that an elected official is doing a good job for them, then it's perfectly OK for them to break the law along the way and not have to worry about not getting re-elected. I just don't understand that line of thinking. What if it wasn't bribery or some other white collar-y crime? What if the guy was indicted for being a prostitute stabbing, serial killer? Would that be OK with y'all because at least he's getting the hookers out of town? Pedophile? Polygamist? Either of those grounds to note vote someone into public office? Anyone? Anyone? Probably not.

I think the democratic process that we have in this country is about as good of a system as you can have. It's not flawless, but what is? It works the way that it is supposed to work. But when you have to rely on voters who are misguided, misinformed, uninformed, or just completely unable to see the bigger picture, well, it frightens me. Do you folks really even understand the importance of being able to cast a ballot? It's a responsibility and it's one that I wish the people in Louisiana and Alaska would take a bit more seriously. At least inform yourselves, people. Please.

The sage in the video below is the type of voter that I am most afraid of. Actually, no, he's the type of voter that I am the next most afraid of. The type of voter I am most afraid of is the type who is completely clueless and votes anyway. The guy below is completely clueless (not only on the issues, but also on the process and the basic rules thereof), but at least he made the right choice in the end. You're going to want to be sitting down when you watch this. I'd hate to have you pass out and hit your head.

I don't know what's more unbelievable. That he didn't know that the President can only serve two terms or that he thought that Bush was doing a good job. It might be the latter.

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