Walpin has not been shy in standing up for himself; he told Fox News that he is “now the target of the most powerful man in this country, with an army of aides whose major responsibility today seems to be to attack me and get rid of me.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, was not amused and is demanding answers from the White House about Walpin’s firing.
“On the face of it,” says Purdue University political-science professor Bert Rockman, “… ‘President Change’ looks a lot more like ‘President Politics-as-usual.’ ”
Rockman is reminded of the guy who walks into a saloon in a western and appears surprised to discover that drinking and gambling is going on.
“Should we be surprised?” he says of the firing. “No. Not with the amount of money that is invested in our politics and politicians.”
In the political patronage system, if big-time donors think they are being harassed – which may simply mean they have run afoul of the law or of reporting requirements – they are too-often forgiven, depending on the seriousness of the offense and how likely it is to be publicly reported or prosecuted.
The press could help keep things honest, but we all know that the press is working with fewer resources and fewer readers – and Walpin’s firing is not a YouTube sort of story.
“The best way to deal with this, of course, is to get the money out of politics and campaigns to the extent possible,” Rockman says.
That, however, is unlikely for the times we are in, nor is it consistent with Supreme Court decisions on limiting campaign costs – or with people's desire to not contribute even so much as a dollar to political campaigns when they file their federal tax returns.
Still, people, like the cowpoke who stuck his head in that saloon, expect virtue when no incentive exists to exhibit any, says Rockman.
Ultimately, the main villain of this tale is money’s role in politics and governing.
Obama the candidate is now Obama the president, and he is not about to anger his core backers. Words, invariably, are cheap.
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