Saturday, January 08, 2005

Spinning Williams

So, at about this point, the blogosphere is all a-buzz with the titillating news that Armstrong Williams accepted nearly $250,000 to plug Bush's No Child Left Behind Act. The funny thing is that this isn't really surprising. Are we really shocked to learn that politicians (left or right) are above paying pundits to endorse the products they're hawking? Hell, we live in a world where Hollywood pays Ebert & Roeper to give a movie two thumbs up, and Peter Jackson can buy eleven Academy Awards for the Lord of the Rings. Doctors are given extravagant gifts by big pharmaceutical companies to endorse their drugs, and sports scouts are sent around the world with fine materialistic incentives to entice stars to play for their teams. Pundits like Armstrong Williams are hardly above it all. Hell, I bet Williams' price tag is pretty cheap in the world of bribery. What gets me about this whole thing is the racism of it all. Armstrong Williams wasn't the only political pundit to be sneaked some cash to say the right things -- are we honestly to believe that Tucker Carlson or Paul Begala haven't gotten a bit of financial incentives? Or that Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh are immune to the certain material benefits that might come from toeing the party line? And yet, in this whole fiasco, it's Armstrong Williams, one of the few vocal black republicans that has been hung out to dry. It's Jayson Blair with a dark twist (pardon the pun). The Republican party has found their scapegoat, and yet they send an unmistakable racial message -- that it's those pesky, untrustworthy blacks who will take the bribes, while the white pundits remain morally pristine (except, of course, for those godforsaken liberals like Dan Rather). Conservatives are beside themselves right now to blame Mr. Williams for taking the money, and yet they do nothing to question the whole idea of punditry, nor do they point a questioning finger at Ann Coulter, Hannity or Colmes. Glass houses, my friends, glass houses. Moreover, check out this example of a conservative blogger who is practically doing somersaults in her attempt to turn this into Yet Another Attack on the Left (tm):

Much worse things have happened in politics, of course. For instance, a sitting president having sex with a woman not his wife inside the White House — government property — and using his staff and the machinery of government to cover it up, then perjuring himself (lying) before a federal grand jury, getting impeached for it in the House of Representatives and tried in the Senate, not having the decency to resign and to this day still won’t admit wrongdoing, then writing a book to profit from his shame, is much worse than Bush paying/bribing a journalist to push his agenda.

At the end of the day, all we have is our character.

Not to buy into the partisan spinning of this scandal, but come the fuck on. Are some commentators on the blogosphere honestly going to try to argue that lying about a blow job is somehow "more evil" than bribing a man to lie about his own principles and sell a piece of legislation to the entire American public?!? It absolutely is true that all we have is our character. But frankly, between a man who had an affair with his wife and a man who lied about an unjust war that killed (and continues to kill) thousands, and then stoop to bribery to take the public attention's eye away from that ongoing military failure, I'll take the man with a happenin' sex life, any day of the week.


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