Larry Elder

Now let's talk ethics. A recent poll, in the wake of the Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., scandal, gives Democrats higher marks for "ethics" than Republicans.

Consider the last 30 years, when the House instituted post-Watergate ethics guidelines. The tally, as of late 2004, over the same period, comes to 70 House members who faced investigations for ethical misconduct: 55 Democrats and 15 Republicans.

Recall how Democrats defended former President Clinton against accusation after accusation. The president's defenders dismissed allegations by former Arkansas state staffer Paula Jones, who accused then-Gov. Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct. Clinton defender-in-chief James Carville said, "If you drag a hundred dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find." But after pleading guilty to lying under oath, and becoming the first sitting president to be found in contempt of court, Clinton settled Jones' "non-meritorious" civil sexual harassment case out-of-court for $850,000.

Kathleen Willey, a former Democratic contributor, claimed on "60 Minutes" that the former president took her hand and placed it on his genitalia. Incredibly, feminist Gloria Steinem wrote that it was not sexual harassment because when Willey asked him to stop, he did. Call this the "one grope rule."

Juanita Broaddrick, a volunteer for Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton's gubernatorial campaign, accused him of rape. Yet Clinton defenders simply dismissed her as a liar, just as they dismissed, minimized or attacked others claiming to have had affairs with the married Clinton. Mistresses include Arkansas "saloon singer" Gennifer Flowers. Clinton initially denied having an affair with her, but later admitted, under oath, to one sexual encounter. The president, of course, famously wagged his finger and denied intern Monica Lewinsky's claim of a sexual relationship. Meanwhile, Clinton defenders played hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, speak-no-evil.

In the case of former Republican Congressman Foley, he promptly resigned after the revelation of sexually explicit e-mails to a former page. Despicable? Yes. Rape? No. In any case, the Republican Party dumped him faster than you can say "Ken Starr."

An old trial lawyer once told me, "Juries don't decide cases based solely on fact, evidence and law. They reach their verdicts based on 'impressions'." In the battle for "impressions" over the economy and ethics, Democrats -- with the complicity of the liberal mainscream media -- think they're winning. Let's wait until the jury returns with its verdict.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.