George Bush and Dick Cheney's involvement in corporate corruption consists primarily of the media's capacity to mention their names in the same sentence as "corporate corruption" 1 million times a day. Liberals think their capacity to say someone's name in an accusatory tone of voice is sufficient to impute criminality to Republicans. Since Republicans are intrinsically evil, merely mentioning their names suffices to make any point liberals want to make. Bush and Cheney have bought and sold stock. The swine!
Whenever the media start intoning darkly about "perceptions," "the full details," "unanswered questions," and -- most pathetic -- "the shadow of Enron" -- you should smell a big, fat commie rat (Gen. Buck Turgidson, "Dr. Strangelove").
In fact, there are no "unanswered questions" about Bush and Cheney. There are only insipid insinuations.
The facts are: Bush sold his stock in Harken to purchase the Texas Rangers. The price of the stock later went down. (And then it went up to more than what he sold it for.) Amid hectoring from liberals that he do so, Cheney sold his interest in Halliburton before becoming vice president to eliminate the possibility of a conflict of interest. Later, the price of that stock went down -- in large part due to trial lawyers filing asbestos suits against Halliburton.
It's not illegal to own or sell stock. It's illegal to sell stock based on insider information.
Thus, the Democrats' theory must be that Bush's purchase of the Texas Rangers and Cheney's ascension to the vice presidency were wily scams to conceal their real reason for selling assets: insider information! Of this, there is no evidence. Literally no evidence, in contradistinction to when liberals say there is "no evidence," meaning there hasn't been a conviction in a court of law, but there are boatloads of evidence.
The imputation of criminality to Bush and Cheney is so ludicrous that even in the girly-girly, eye-poking attacks on The New York Times op-ed page it has been roundly admitted that there is no question of "any criminality" (Frank Rich) and that "Mr. Bush broke no laws" (Nicholas Kristof). Rep. Barney Frank, the only honest Democrat, has repeatedly said that it is "not a case of Dick Cheney violating the law."
Thus, the media explain their baseless sneering about the president and vice president as attempts to "add to our knowledge of the ethics, policies and personnel of a secretive administration," as Rich put it.
It's a little late for liberals to pretend they care about ethics in the White House or anyplace else. These are the people who vehemently -- angrily -- defended a president who perjured himself, hid evidence, suborned perjury, was held in contempt by a federal court, was disbarred by the Supreme Court, lied to his party, his staff, his wife and the nation. The ethics of that president included having staff perform oral sex on him in the Oval Office as he chatted on the phone with a congressman about sending American troops into battle.
The secular saints of liberalism indignantly defended all this on the grounds that it's fine to lie and commit crimes if it's "just about sex." Evidently some corporate officials took that lesson to heart and concluded that it's also fine to commit crimes if it's "just about money."
Just as Ronald Reagan gave American culture a renewed patriotism and self-confidence that outlasted his presidency, Clinton has bequeathed America a culture of criminality and rationalization by the powerful.
But still somehow, Republicans are said to be more vulnerable whenever a businessman becomes a crook on the basis of their general support of capitalism. But if criminality and not capitalism is to blame, then Democrats are to blame for their general support of crooks.
As part of the left's long-standing fanatical defense of their favorite criminal, Bill Clinton, it will be screeched that conservatives want to blame everything on Clinton, including the wacky idea that a direct assault on honor and honesty led some people to behave dishonorably and dishonestly.
Not everything. But some of us called this ball and this pocket years ago:
"If Congress doesn't have the will to throw him out, Clinton will have set a new standard for the entire country. The new standard will be a total absence of standards. ... If you get caught and don't have a good enough legal team to escape, you might have to pay a fine or go to prison. But there's no shame in it. The country doesn't really condemn this. We adore a lovable rogue. ... (I)t is fine to lie and cheat and manipulate because honor is just a word, just hot air and the country doesn't believe in it." ("High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton"; 1998.)
It took a bear market to inexorably repeal the Clintonian national motto of "Just Do It!"