The Media Embarrasses Itself by Trying to Tie Enron to the Bush Administration
For the last few days the press has been desperately trying to convince the public that there are some sort of scandalous ties between the Bush administration and Enron. Comparisons between this scandal and Whitewater have become blas’. CBS Marketwatch’s David Callaway said this scandal will be worse for the Bush administration than Whitewater was for Bill Clinton. Sam Donaldson went even farther and said this scandal would dwarf the Lewinisky affair and Whitewater. The Whitewater investigation merited a special prosecutor, took 6 years, and led to 12 convictions including former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, Jim and Susan McDougal, and former Associate Atty. Gen. Webster L. Hubbell. So saying that Enron is going to ‘dwarf’ Whitewater is quite an allegation.
Actually, it would be quite an allegation if it weren’t merely part of a smear campaign against the Bush administration. Let’s take a look at the ‘devastating’ revelations that have come out shall we?
Many members in the Bush administration have taken campaign contributions from Enron. Government officials taking campaign contributions? Is that supposed to be unusual? If so, then we may want to speak with Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Tom Daschle, and Dick Gephardt, because like many, many, other Democrats, they’ve taken contributions from Enron as well.
We also have claims that Enron called the White House. Dick Cheney had several energy policy related meetings with Enron. President Bush was at a function with Kenneth Lay in the Spring. Paul O’Neill and Donald Evans also received calls from Enron. Again, there is nothing unusual about the fact that Enron called or that they were able to get in touch with members of the Bush Administration. Of course, we don’t know the extent of Enron’s contact with Tom Daschle or Dick Gephardt since no one has asked yet. But, since the Democrats are implying that merely having contact with Enron is supposed to be questionable, don’t we need to know which Democrats have spoken with Enron? Afterall, quite a bit of Enron money has ended up in the pockets of Democrats as well hasn’t it?
We’ve now covered the two main ‘charges’ against the Bush administration in the Enron ‘scandal’. I’m sure many of you have some pretty basic questions at this point. How did the Bush administration benefit from Enron’s collapse? They didn’t. What did the Bush administration do that was illegal? At this point, there isn’t even any speculation that they did anything illegal. Did they do anything that was immoral? If they did I’m scratching my head as to what it might be. In fact, the only real hints of scandal between the presidency and Enron have been tied to the Clinton administration.
In 1997 the Clinton administration shepherded a 3 billion dollar power plant in India to completion. Clinton Chief of staff Mack Mclarty called Enron’s Kenneth Lay with regular updates over the 9 months that he looked out for Enron’s interests in India. 4 days after the plant was completed, Enron gave 100 thousand dollars to the Democratic party. Mack Mclarty was also later given a job by Enron. Was the campaign contribution and the job payback for the work the Clinton administration did on Enron’s behalf? It certainly looked like a quid pro quo contribution to the Democratic party by Enron in return for services rendered but the press at the time didn’t find it controversial enough to merit a serious discussion.
Compare that to the actions of the Bush team in the last week. Not only did they refuse to bail out Enron, the DOJ opened an investigation into Enron’s actions. This was not something they had to do. In the past, the government has chosen to aid or bail out companies like Long-Term Capital Management, Chrysler, and Lockheed in similar situations. That makes the Bush administration’s stand on Enron look even more principled, above board, and unassailable than usual.
So the real question at this point is: “Why is the Bush administration even being tied to the collapse of Enron”? Is the press so scandal hungry that they’re willing to manufacture a controversy just for the sake of having something to talk about? Is the notoriously left-wing press in America desperate to come up with some way to taint a Bush presidency that’s gotten far too popular for their tastes? At this point, the implication that the Bush administration has done something wrong despite the total and utter lack of evidence in this case paints the press in a less flattering light than the Bush administration.