Sunday, June 04, 2006

Political Corruption

Political Corruption

A Republican Tradition

By Richard E. Noble
Accusations of corruption and political double dealing haunt the American Conservative tradition all the way back to Washington and Adams.
Washington’s main man was Colonel Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton was a known philanderer and back-room money dealer. Along with being one of Washington’s favored business and banking advisors, and his secretary of the treasury, he was also one of Washington’s favorite fighting men from the Revolution days.
Hamilton was constantly up to no good, and ready for a duel at the drop of a hat. Washington, Hamilton and Adams were all semi-royalists, who considered disagreement with them to be sedition or treason. During the Adams Administration they even passed laws stating this to be a fact, known as the Alien and Sedition acts.
Their years in power were not born out in peace and contentment. When Washington finally retired from politics Benjamin Franklin’s grandson, Benjamin Bache is quoted as saying “Every heart ought to beat high in exultation, that the name of Washington ceases from this day to give currency to political iniquity and to legalize corruption.” And Tom Paine said of George Washington in an open letter written to George and to the American people. “As to you, sir, treacherous in private friendship and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled to decide whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had any.”
John Quincy Adams, our next presidential Conservative had big problems in his administration. There was a big question as to whether he was ever really elected or not. Andrew Jackson and followers considered him a cheat and double dealer. They said that he made a dirty deal with Henry Clay who traded his presidential votes for an eventual position as secretary of state in the Adams’ government. Jackson had won the popular vote. J.Q.’s administration was severely handicapped and his re-election basically eradicated by these constant accusations of corruption, cheating, and lying.
William Henry Harrison’s Campaign is infamous in history for falsehood, deceit, political payoff, vote fraud and purchasing of votes and support. It is said that Harrison told so many lies and promised so many people jobs that he died from the constant pester of petitioners.
When Tyler then took over, after Harrison died of over commitment before he had even served a day as president, a new Conservative controversy arose.
Tyler was a recently converted Democrat to the Conservative Whig cause. His opinions were not entirely to their way of thinking. His Whig party stalwarts didn’t like him and they didn’t want him. They challenged him and his Constitutional right to the presidency, and did everything in their power to undermine his position and topple him from power. Finally his whole Whig Cabinet resigned save for Daniel Webster, who eventually resigned also, but for reasons other than politics.
Zachary Taylor’s administration was sullied by a scandal involving a number of members of his cabinet. George Crawford, the secretary seems to have netted a good deal of money in consequence to his cabinet friend’s high jinks. Zachary was considered to be in much the same category as Ulysses S. Grant, a ‘nice’ man, but politically uninformed and unaware.
After Lincoln was shot and Andrew Johnson took power the Republicans had a field day for historically supported lies and corruption. Lincoln had run for his second term not on the Republican ticket but on a more liberal offshoot known as the National Union party. His vice president Andrew Johnson was actually a Southern Democrat.
The Northern radical, abolitionist Republicans wanted no part of his reunification, white slaver appeasing, forgiving attitudes. The Republicans initiated every type of political pressures not exclusive of lies, and unconstitutional manipulations to undermine Andrew Johnson and his presidency. They nearly succeeded, but lost in the Senate by one vote. The attempted impeachment of Andrew Johnson is historically accepted as a disgrace on the part of those who pursued it.
From Ulysses S. Grant to McKinley the Republicans have a hay day of payoffs, cheating, nepotism, civil service job scamming and corruption of all kinds. Corruption was rampant throughout the Grant administration. Everyone knew it and no one denies it. Hayes (Known as Ruther-fraud) supposedly gained the presidency by buying off the South with money, promises and jobs. Samuel Tilden won the popular vote, while the votes from a number of Southern states (Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina) were highly disputed. The disputes were of a racial nature, and totally inaccurate.
The Blacks were being denied access to the poles, or their votes were not being counted at all. The Legislature was evenly split and so too the Supreme Court. A committee was eventually selected, which was then compromised where upon a very unpopular decision was finally arrived at.
Garfield, actually, was shot because of political infighting within the Republican Party. His assassin proclaimed that he shot Garfield because he was a personal, staunch supporter of Garfield’s vice president Chester A. Arthur. Arthur an established member of the known politically corrupt, New York machine, had a most difficult time proving that he or his backers had not had a hand in the Killing.
Grover Cleveland was the great Democratic hope for honest government throughout this long Republican period of corruption, and he campaigned on exactly that notion and credo. But his administrations were split by Republican Benjamin Harrison who actually bankrupted the federal Government with excessive payments to Civil War veterans and other corrupt dealings of every variety. Thirty thousand civil service Democrats were replaced by Republicans in his first year in office ... in New York alone. When Grover Cleveland was re-elected, he had to accept a deal from none other than the notorious J. P. Morgan in order to bail America out of its newly orchestrated Republican Bankruptcy.
McKinley was the known puppet of Big business. His entire administration was under the thumb and crude manipulation of Marcus Hanna, big time political boss with few political scruples.
Warren Harding is next on the Conservative agenda, and there should be no comment necessary. Harding has gone down in history as ‘The’ example of American political corruption. The Tea Pot Dome scandals just the tip of his controversial iceberg.
Coolidge brings a respite before Herbert Hoover comes along with traditional Republican principles that are sufficient in themselves to bankrupt the whole nation.
The Depression, considered by some as nothing more than a planned big money bankruptcy to put the rising tide of populous Socialism in its place; keep the working populous barefooted and broke and it will only be a matter of time before they will be at the Capitalist’s door begging for the return of their jobs - whatever the pay and/or conditions.
Hoover then brings us to Eisenhower who revives the nation’s faith in Republican leadership, but least we all get too confident God sends us Richard Milhous Nixon.
Nixon’s Watergate gives renewed faith in the inherent corruption of Republicanism. He uses the I.R.S. to blackmail his opponents; the F.B.I. to monitor and harass them, and possibly the C.I.A. to eliminate them if all else fails. He hires a group who call themselves ‘The Plumbers’. Their goal being to fix leaks spewing from the White House. It is accused that they are no more than professional thieves, but this gives them far too much credit. They are caught red-handed at the Watergate hotel trying to gather information on their Democratic opponents.
Nixon’s inability to end the war in Vietnam also gives rise to the notion that he is a pawn to the Military Industrial Complex, and an advocate of the popular liberal criticism of the Republican creed that a thousand bombs a day will keep the Recession away.
Ronald Reagan then convinces America that Nixon never really happened. Not only that Nixon didn’t really happen but that even if he did, he was most probably right and a true patriot and American.
Ronald Reagan and then George Herbert Walker Bush remind us of why we had bounced Nixon, and that it wasn’t all really a product of liberal imaginations.
The Iran Contra loomed before the public eye. Information is presented that Reagan had cut a deal even before his initial election, thus undermining the then incumbent president Jimmy Carter in his negotiations.
While Republican stalwarts demand imprisonment of Americans protesting in the streets or celebrities giving aide and comfort having their photo taken while sitting on a enemy tank, Ronald Reagan and his fellow conservatives sell the enemy tanks, and missiles and rockets, and land mines illegally ... and deposit their ill-gained profits secretly in a Swiss bank account. The money in the Swiss bank account is then used for the purchase of illegal drugs, contraband weapons and who knows what else, which are then supplied to terrorist in South America. All of this being done without even informing the Congress, never mind gaining their permission, supervision, or even oversight. This is defined by the opposition as out right theft, if not treasonous behavior.
Nixon was not impeached. He resigned before that inevitable consequence occurred. He was not imprisoned. He was pardoned by Gerald Ford, much to the disapproval of the American voter.
Reagan’s presidency expired before he could have been impeached. He was not tried and imprisoned afterwards for criminal activities, not because he was innocent or charges and proof were not available, but because he was pardoned by George Herbert Walker Bush, and feelings of pity for his Alzheimer’s condition by the opposition and the American people.
After Reagan we have everybody’s hero George Herbert Walker Bush. Georgie’s father Prescott and his father-in-law, Herbert Walker seem to have been involved in trading with an enemy (Nazi Germany) during a time of war (World War II). They had a bunch of their million dollar businesses confiscated under the Alien and Espionage Act that were passed during the Red Scare days of the Wilson administration. George Herbert Walker Bush himself has been defended - even by his leftist enemies - as being too stupid to have committed any of his crimes on purpose.
And now we have George Herbert Walker Bush’s son. You don’t need a history book for this guy - you can read about his exploits in the daily newspapers.


Anonymous said...

Hobo -
I like your post here. It's kinda "preaching to the choir," but I appreciate modern events with the trail of history attached.

Although I'm a die-hard non-Repubblican, I'm afraid your estimation of Washington, Hamilton and John Adams is quite inaccurate.

For one, John Adams was an enemy to Hamilton, and of a completely different party that Washington. He cannot be lumped in with Republican conceit, as he was not AT ALL in line with Washington or Hamilton. In fact, he truly established the tradition of the non-active Veep.

Ron Chernow's recent biography of Hamilton (Pulitzer Prize nominee) is now considered the definitive work on Hamilton. You will find some things that contract your theses:

1. Washington was old and disfunctional as a President. He rarely attended meetings, and perhaps did less to create policy that any other President. It is hard to attribute scandal to him, as he often rubber-stamped Hamilton's ideas.

2. The backroom deal was perpetrated by Hamilton on only a couple of choice occasions, one of which involving his criticism of John Adams - a plot that backfired and helped Adams gain the presidency. The feew backroom deals were done with the name "Phocion" attached, and all in early American politics knew that this meant Hamilton. It's hard to call it a "backroon deal" when your identity is known. Hamilton was not really a backroom dealer.

A vicious pamphleteer: yes! But everyone knew that he wrote his pieces.

3. Adams' Sedition act was an attempt to run Hamilton out of political favor. It was actively opposed and used against Hamilton, and cannot be considered his invention. It was certainly anti-Hamiltonian, and strange to attribute it to him.

4. With few exceptions, Hamilton is actually considered one of the most TRANSPARENT figures of early American politics. If you want to find the horror-mongers, Thomas Jefferson is your man. He was the ideal poet-politician, a thorough hypocrite, a constant wheeler-dealer, the epitome of the wolf in sheep's clothing. (Slaver holder in abolitionists' garb.)

5. The "duel at the drop of a hat" Hamilton: You've obviously been reading too much Jefferson. The actual events of the duels FORCED upon him, and unwillingly accepted in the name of honor, have been known for a while. He brought challenge of duel once, knowing that it would not be met. His other duels were, with no doubt, forced upon him. Outside of his strong code of honor, he looked at duels with horror and disgust.

6. The current make-up of your Republic, including the 3 branches of government and bi-cameral house; the Federal Reserve system; unified money; credit system of economics; population & party representation - these are all contributions by Hamilton, as the Federal Papers will tell you.

Yes, Hamilton conducted the cabinet with little debate. But he is the original installer of check-and-balances, the word of law in government, and created the first investigatory commission - which ruled against him. He accepted that willingly.


It is a shame that in your search for corruption in America, you seem to have garnered more sources from the corrupted.

To be sure, one can NEVER put Adams in the same camp as Washington and Hamilton.

Hamilton's attempts at sneakiness were all large and public failures. They were his political suicide - passion over discretion - and very rare actions on his part. He only attempted these on a couple of occasions (you can't commit suicide everyday!). To call him a master of deception doesn't work - he was sloppy with deception, and knew it.

You might also want to check out recent bios on Jefferson. He is your "original sin" man you seek.

Richard Edward Noble said...

Thanks for your comment. But in general what I have written is very much in line with what I have read and fairly consistent - minus some poetic licence. Some of what you say I have also read - especially with regards to Thomas Jefferson. The bulk of the material on Jefferson certainly does not live up to your characterization and to my discredit I am not "over-read" on any president. If you read my blog on Sex Scandals you will see more "liberals" being criticised. This blog was written more for fun and enjoyment as opposed to Historical documentary. It was my attempt to make history a little more palatable. I sincerely hope that you enjoyed what I had to say more that you didn't enjoy it - that's the name of the game. Take care.

imsmall said...


When Bush the Elder stood before
The Perly Gates, some question
Arose, as heaven did implore
An answer, or suggestion,

About how such a withered soul
Engaging in such slanders
Came forth--the Judges on the whole
Sympathetic understanders.

Said with a touch of Southern drawl
(Pure affectation surely),
Quoth he within the Courtroom, "y´all
Consider this maturely.

´Slander´ is much too harsh a word
As means but means effective
So to promote what then occurred,
Positive vote elective--

Although the population did
Catch on to me, it was
Results, primary causes hid
As they hid their own flaws.

My enemies, although it seemed
My tactics whipped and birched them,
Came round my way, and soon esteemed,
For I had but ´Bushsmirched´ them.

Bushsmirching´s an effective means
Unto an end, no more--
I´m ´kind and gentle,´ y´all." No liens
Thereby his sighs implore.

Then quoth one Justice at the bar,
"Let Judgement now unfurl:
Pass through these gates, although they are
Named after Richard Perle."