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When Crimes Become Mistakes

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

You can't help but wonder if Democrats ever pay taxes. It seems from the headlines that the way it works is that Democrats levy taxes but only Republicans have to pay them.

For a president who said he was going to preside over the most ethical administration in history, Barack Obama has shown an astounding talent of being able to find appointees who mistakenly manage to forget to pay their taxes.

Just look at Timothy Geithner, for example. The new Treasury secretary -- the man who oversees the IRS -- forgot to pay $34,000 in taxes. Tom Daschle had to pay $128,203 in back taxes and $11,964 in interest after he learned he was going to be nominated as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Obama's appointee Nancy Killefer withdrew her candidacy to be the first "chief performance officer" for the federal government because she messed up paying payroll taxes on her household help.

Then there's Charlie Rangel, head of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, who didn't pay his taxes. And Al Franken, who might be a new Democratic senator from Minnesota thanks to the peculiar way they count votes in his state, didn't pay his taxes either. The Congresswoman who was appointed to fill Hillary's vacant seat in the Senate did not pay her taxes.

Not to worry, though. It appears that none of these people committed offenses. They merely made "mistakes."

Speaking of Daschle, the president said: "Tom made a mistake, which he has openly acknowledged. He has not excused it, nor do I. But that mistake and this decision cannot diminish the many contributions Tom has made to this country."

No Democrats ever commit crimes. They merely make mistakes.

Not so with Republicans. If you tell a joke at the 100th birthday party of a retiring and dying Senator, your career in the Senate will be in shambles, as Trent Lott discovered. If you're a Democrat, however, well, you simply make a mistake when you do something wrong.

Democrats can do just about anything they want. They can avoid paying taxes, wrap $90,000 in bills in tinfoil and put in a freezer, and it's written off as just another mistake.

Willie Sutton didn't rob banks. He and John Dillinger simply made a lot of mistakes.

Funny, I haven't heard anyone suggest that Dick Nixon's actions in Watergate were simply mistakes. But then, Nixon was a Republican and Republicans are not allowed to claim that their misdeeds were mistakes. That privilege is reserved for Democrats who get caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

When a Democrat stands before a judge after straying from the straight and narrow you can expect that he will admit to having made a mistake and, what the heck, everybody makes mistakes. That's why they put erasers on pencils.

When somebody asks why Barack Obama isn't flying over storm-ravaged Kentucky the way they asked why George Bush why he didn't fly over New Orleans after Katrina, you can bet his flunkies will say it was a mistake.

Here's a tragedy where hundreds of thousands of people are shivering in frigid weather without electricity, and Barack Obama is hosting Super Bowl Parties in the warm and comfy White House.

When George Bush didn't go the New Orleans it was seen as a crime of enormous proportions. When Barack Obama gives a party instead of giving aid and comfort to ice-stricken Kentuckians, it must be an oversight -- a mistake.

How many more mistakes are we going to hear about as President Obama goes about picking nominees for top administration posts?

Make no mistake about it -- if what we have seen so far is any indication, there will be other mistakes.

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