I’d say this is a pretty accurate assessment:
“The Daschle affair was more serious because his offense involved more than taxes. As Michael Kinsley once observed, in Washington the real scandal isn’t what’s illegal, but what’s legal. Not paying taxes is one thing. But what made this case intolerable was the perfectly legal dealings that amassed Daschle $5.2 million in just two years.
He’d been getting $1 million per year from a law firm. But he’s not a lawyer, nor a registered lobbyist. You don’t get paid this kind of money to instruct partners on the Senate markup process. You get it for picking up the phone and peddling influence.
At least Tim Geithner, the tax-challenged Treasury secretary, had been working for years as a humble international civil servant earning non-stratospheric wages. Daschle, who had made another cool million a year (plus chauffeur and Caddy) for unspecified services to a pal’s private equity firm, represented everything Obama said he’d come to Washington to upend.
It doesn’t make me have ill-will toward Obama. But, I do hope that it makes a few ardent Democrats pause for a moment and realize that the problem with our political system doesn’t lie with Republicans. It’s everyone’s fault — Democrats and Republicans. (If you think Daschle is an aberation, read this column which includes a roundup of current Democratic scandals.)
And we can’t pass more legislation (e.g., McCain-Feingold part deux) to fix the problem. You can’t legislate virtue.
We need to elect people into office who truly have the people’s best interests in mind, not how to line their own pockets. I’m sure those politicians exist, but they don’t seem to get anywhere in Washington.