On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN host Wolf Blitzer tried to downplay the significance of the arrest of the Democratic governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich by making an unequivocal statement about Republicans: “You know, most of the scandals -- most of the political scandals...in recent years have involved Republicans...and they’re all pretty well-known.” He continued by labeling the Democrat’s apprehension a “huge embarrassment.”
Blitzer made the remark to Karen Finney, the communications director for the Democratic National Committee, during the regular “Strategy Session” segment. Finney appeared with Republican strategist John Feehery, and the three discussed the political implications of Blagojevich’s arrest. Besides this most recent development, the CNN host only mentioned the recent defeat of Louisiana Representative William Jefferson as an example of a political scandal involving a Democrat.
Finney acknowledged Blitzer’s statement as being correct, and continued by holding up President-Elect Barack Obama as a model politician: “Barack Obama has been the polar opposite to the kinds of allegations that we’re hearing....I think this is a good cautionary tale, frankly, for Democrats and Republicans to remember -- you can’t get complacent. You can’t be so bold as to think you’re above the law, and we have to remember that, you know, we all have to follow the laws, and no -- you know -- no one is above the law.”
Both Blitzer and Finney need to be reminded that there have been plenty of scandals involving Democrats in recent years as well. Do the names Eliot Spitzer, Kwame Kilpatrick, John Edwards, and Tim Mahoney ring any bells in their minds? The political careers of all four Democrats suffered due to revelations of sexual impropriety, which all occurred in the past year. One only need to go back a little further to find a few more Democratic names involved in scandal, such as Bill Clinton and Gary Condit.
One of the main reasons why the Republican scandals are “all pretty well-known,” to use Blitzer’s words, is because the mainstream media too often omits the party affiliation of Democrats involved in scandals, such as in the case of Blagojevich himself, or they try to minimize the coverage of the scandal, as they did with Mahoney.
The transcript of the relevant portion of the discussion, which occurred 50 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of Tuesday's Situation Room:
WOLF BLITZER: You know, most of the scandals -- most of the political scandals, Karen, in recent years, have involved Republicans --
KAREN FINNEY: That’s right.
BLITZER: And they’re all pretty well-known. William Jefferson, the Democrat in Louisiana with the 90,000-plus dollars in his freezer -- he just lost his reelection bid. But this is a high -- high-profile Democratic sitting governor right now --
BLITZER: ...that’s a huge embarrassment.
FINNEY: Well, look, I think there are two key points to this -- number one, Barack Obama has been the polar opposite to the kinds of allegations that we’re hearing. But, number two, I think this is a good cautionary tale, frankly, for Democrats and Republicans to remember -- you can’t get complacent. You can’t be so bold as to think you’re above the law, and we have to remember that, you know, we all have to follow the laws, and no -- you know -- no one is above the law.