In the latter half of the 19th century, as the United States embarked on its westward expansion, the popular slogan of the time was "Go West Young Man." The West was seen as a place where adventurous men of little means and connections (women were never mentioned) could make their fortunes through hard work and perseverance.
Today, as our country falters economically, it seems the appropriate slogan should be "Go East Young Man and Woman" -- go to Washington D.C. where you can become rich in the revolving door between the worlds of government and lobbying/law firms. In fact, according to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, not paying your taxes, until caught, is not an impediment to assuming Czarist positions of power and influence over millions of your fellow citizens/serfs who are fast losing their jobs, homes and 401ks.
According to Gibbs, commenting on why Tom Daschle should be confirmed as Obama's Health Czar, even though he failed to timely pay a six figure tax bill (blaming it on the accountants of course), "Nobody's perfect. It was a serious mistake."
The serious mistake/lack of perfection defense should now become the legal defense for any citizen/serf currently under prosecution for tax evasion. The defense lawyer can intone: "My client made a serious mistake. He or she is not perfect. My client needs to be held to the same standards as Daschle and Geithner, all they had to do is apologize and pay a penalty months or even years after the fact. They were not hounded by the IRS like my client has been with the IRS garnishing her wages, foreclosing tax liens on her property, closing her business, and putting her in jail."
In the election, I crossed party lines, having voted Republican for years, to vote for Obama because I believe we need real change in our country. But when I see Obama not making the tough choices about personal responsibility in the Geithner and Daschle cases, then I wonder if we are just seeing a Democratic version of the same old insider favoritism and deal making that so infected the Bush Administration.
In my view, Geithner should not have been confirmed as head of the Treasury with his lame excuses about not paying his taxes over several years and neither should Daschle be confirmed as Health Policy Czar. There are thousands of Americans who are qualified to serve in leadership positions in our federal government. President Obama needs to tap outsiders not appoint the same insiders who don't play by the rules and know they can get away with it with because they are connected in corridors of power and influence peddling.
Obama said during the campaign that change will never happen with the same old players n Washington and yet he has appointed so many of the same old players. Obama's promise not to bring lobbyists into his Administration has already been broken. The argument of some that Daschle was not a "registered lobbyist" takes us back to Clintonian word parsing about the meaning of "is."
Maybe the solution is simply to move the Capital westward -- perhaps to Washington State where people would be appointed as political Czars to serve the public good not to grow rich on the backs of the serfs.