BY CHRIS GIOVINAZZO
NO MATTER WHICH PARTY IS IN THE WHITE House, the other party always calls for investigations and decries executive scandals. Let’s face it, where scandal is concerned – or at least allegations of scandal – the parties really don’t differ that much. In fact, the investigations the Democrats have demanded from the Bush administration are eerily parallel to investigations the Republicans demanded under Clinton and even now. Obviously both parties have the same priorities!
This column should help you compare and contrast the investigative questions asked by Democrats and Republicans. Some notes in the sidebar provide a key in case you’ve forgotten any of the scandals mentioned.
Investigative Topic #1. The President’s Statements
Democrats Ask: Did George Bush lie about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction? 1
Republicans Asked: Did Bill Clinton lie about Monica Lewinsky having sex with him? 2
Topic #2. Major Mistakes
Democrats Ask: When the U.S. initiated a war based on false intelligence, how did that happen? Was this an honest mistake, or did the President and his staff manipulate information and deceive the public? 3
Republicans Ask: When Janet Jackson exposed her right breast on national television, how did that happen? Was this an honest mistake, or did Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake manipulate CBS and deceive MTV? 4
Topic #3. White House Personnel
Democrats Ask: How were top officials involved in illegally exposing the identity of a CIA agent engaged in sensitive intelligence missions? Was the agent exposed because the White House wanted to retaliate against a critic? 5
Republicans Asked: How was Hillary Clinton involved in firing office staff members in charge of arranging travel? Was the travel staff fired because the First Lady is grouchier than she should be? 6
Topic #4. Improper Influence
Democrats Ask: George Bush was “good friends” with Ken Lay, CEO of Enron, the seventh largest global corporation before it became the largest bankruptcy ever. Lay and Enron gave over $2,000,000 in campaign contributions to Bush, met with Vice President Cheney privately on at least 6 occasions, and made at least 17 policy recommendations that were adopted by Bush’s Energy Task Force. Did Ken Lay break the law? Did these assocations compromise U.S. policy? 7
Republicans Asked: Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy went to sporting events with a lobbyist from Sun Diamond, a walnut, fig and raisin grower. Espy also accepted gifts from agriculture companies valued at a total of $12,000. Did Espy break the law? Did these associations compromise U.S. policy? 8
Topic #5. The President’s Finances
Democrats Ask: Did George Bush engage in insider trading when he earned $850,000 selling stock in his oil company, Harken, shortly before it reported record losses? Relatedly, was the SEC investigation of the sale cancelled because Bush’s father was president? 9
Republicans Asked: Did the Clintons act improperly twenty years ago when they lost $40,000 investing in a small construction project? Relatedly, did Bill Clinton have sex with Monica Lewinsky? 10
Topic #6. The President’s Past
Democrats Ask: Did George Bush misrepresent whether he was AWOL from the Texas National Guard? 11
Republicans Asked: Did Bill Clinton have sex with Gennifer Flowers? 12
Topic #7. The President’s Crimes
Democrats Ask: Did George Bush commit drunk driving or use cocaine? 13
Republicans Asked: Did Bill Clinton have sex with Paula Jones? 14
Topic #8. National Security
Democrats Ask: What governmental mistakes help explain our failure to prevent the largest terrorist attack in U.S. history? What changes in intelligence gathering and foreign policy might be advisable? 15
Republicans Asked: Did Bill Clinton have sex with Monica Lewinsky? 16
Can you spot any meaningful difference between the two columns? I sure can’t.
Chris Giovinazzo’s column appears biweekly.
Chris’s Fair and Balanced Footnotes
1 Democrats seek answers to questions such as: Why did George Bush declare that Iraq was seeking nuclear material from Africa when this was widely known to be untrue? Why did Bush declare that Iraq’s aluminum tubes were for nuclear material when this was widely known to be untrue? Why did George Bush say “we have found weapons of mass destruction” when this was widely known to be untrue? Those types of questions.
3 After much Democratic outcry, Bush is selecting a committee to investigate the false Iraq intelligence. No results yet.
4 Admirably without any Democratic outcry, Bush’s FCC Chairman Michael Powell initiated an investigation of the Super Bowl halftime show. Powell promises the investigation will be “thorough and swift.”
5 After much Democratic outcry, Bush promised an investigation of how Valerie Plame’s cover was blown shortly after her husband complained that the White House ignored evidence that Iraq had no nuclear ambitions. “I don’t know if we’re going to find the [leaker],” Bush said. No results yet.
7 Ken Lay has not been charged with crimes. No formal investigation.
8 Clinton’s first Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy was the subject of a 4-year, $17 million independent counsel investigation. He was acquitted of all charges.
9 At the time, the SEC investigation of Bush was dropped. No further formal investigation.
10 The Whitewater investigation, led by Ken Starr, lasted 6 years and cost $60 million. No charges were filed against the Clintons. Starr investigated Clinton’s relationship with Monica as part of his duties investigating Whitewater because the two issues were closely related.
11 Scandalmongering Democrats ask questions such as: Why, if Bush was training in Alabama, did no one ever see him there? Wouldn’t most people, or at least one person, remember having met a future President? No formal investigation.
12 Gennifer Flowers.
13 George Bush committed DUI 25 years ago. Bush has not used cocaine since 1974.
14 Paula Jones.
15 After much Democratic outcry, the 9/11 commission was formed. The commission has been at work for over two years. No results yet.