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June 23, 2005


The only possibly reasonable excuse I can think of is that since the Republicans have such complete control of the House, and since they're known for showing less restraint or decency than at any time in recent history, Democrats might fear that ethics investigations, like everything else, will be corrupted and used for partisan purposes -- that guilty Republicans will get off scot-free, while some innocent Democrats will be censured, expelled, or at the least slimed.

I'm not saying it's a good excuse, but perhaps that's what they're thinking.

Done; my Congressman is Waxman. Thanks for the easy link.

I hope that the delay to date is simply taking a decent amount of time to put together a sound complaint, as opposed to the reasons Marshall suggests.

Cunningham isn't just unethical--he's a straight-up crook, shamelessly taking bribes in broad daylight. He should be in jail, and he probably will be soon enough.

What Hilzoy said.

(Lest anyone comment that posts rightfully condemning Democrats are comment-poor.)

Agreed, hilzoy: there ought to be no doubt at all that laws have been broken and trust has been violated. A damned shame, too, considering his background:

In 1966, at the age of 25, Cunningham joined the U.S. Navy and became one of the most highly decorated pilots in the Vietnam War. As the first fighter ace of the war, Cunningham was nominated for the Medal of Honor, received the Navy Cross, two Silver Stars, fifteen Air Medals, the Purple Heart, and several other decorations.

Disclaimer: this does not, in my book constitute a get-out-of-jail-free card. The reverse, in fact: he simply ought to know better than anyone else, anywhere, who finds themselves offered a bribe.

There's a comma missing from the next-to-last sentence, but the meaning ought to be clear. Maybe it's because I'm re-reading Atlas Shrugged for the dozenth time or so, and either rules of usage have changed a bit since it was written, or neither Ayn nor her editors were familiar with what makes for good sentence structure. First time I actually noticed, but once I did I noticed it's everywhere.

Oh, Slarti: tell me you aren't an objectivist...

Or tell me you are, and we can argue about it ;)

Maybe it's because I'm re-reading Atlas Shrugged for the dozenth time or so.

Oh great, next Bird will be mentioning his leather-bound copy of Dianetics.

(Haven't read Atlas, but I did read The Fountainhead, staying up a good chunk of the night to see how it came out & then feeling cheap & used. Like what a prof said about Foucault: "what's good in him is in Nietzsche, and what isn't in Nietzsche, isn't good." Echoing Dr. Johnson of course.)

Not being entirely sure about what Objectivism is all about, I have to answer with "I don't know". If Rand's philosophy contains and is contained by objectivism, though, I'm going to have to answer in the negative.

Which is a relief, I guess, because I think I'd come relatively unarmed to that battle of wits.

neither Ayn nor her editors

Assumes facts not in evidence.

Thanks for this post, Slarti. DeLay having stacked the
Ethics Committee with Reps beholden to him may have something to do with the Dem inaction so far, but this is such low-hanging fruit that it seems worth going for it. Wouldn't it be nice to see Republicans clean their own house, though? Too much to hope for with the Hammer still ascendant.

Getting Cunningham out of Congress would also raise the civility level, as he has on more than one occasion recommended publicly that people he disagrees with should be lined up and shot.

Slarti, I am struck by your repeated eyelash-batting when hot potato subjects loom.

You've read Atlast Shrugged a dozen times, but you don't know what Objectivism is. You're a dedicated Republican, but you profess not to know the slightest thing about Grover Norquist. Just a lone thinker, eh?

Slarti: yes, objectivism is Rand's philosophy. It is, well, I'm groping for a tactful phrase but none leaps to mind, so I'll just say: stupid. Moreover, despite her individualism, objectivism developed (under her leadership) into something like a cult.

hilzoy: with that last comment of yours, i'm remembering that wonderful scene from Monty Python's Life of Brian.

Brian: "You must all think for yourselves."
Massed Crowd: "We must all think for ourselves."

Francis: ever met an objectivist, a serious one? It's eerily similar. (There was a nest of them at some of the colleges near the one I used to work at. They conceal their objectivism until they get tenure, and then try to replicate. And so there were also a lot of students who fell into it. I used to think that one of my little missions in life was to argue with them, since they also tended to have a huge chip on their shoulders about how no one was willing to really engage with them, which, according to them, showed that we were all frightened of the power of Rand's ideas. At which point I'd have to pretend to have a coughing fit.)

This story keeps getting better...

So: Josh Marshall has just posted recent sales prices for homes near the one that Cunningham bought for 2.55million, which seem to suggest that Cunningham's home might have been underpriced. But he links to these photos at Raw Story, and Raw Story links to this site, which has more pictures, and also a link to a map showing the new home, anda copy of the deed, and various other things. (I should say: this last site is one I checked out when I was doing my first Cunningham post, and it was reliable then.)

Now: I am not a real estate appraisor. I am not making a professional judgment, and do not have the expertise to make such a judgment. However, I am familiar with Rancho Santa Fe, where Duke Cunningham's new house is. Unless things have changed dramatically over the past few years, it is a very upscale place, near San Diego. Cunningham's new home has 7,628 sq. ft., 5 bedrooms, and 7 baths. It sits on a 2.89 acre lot. I would be surprised to see a house like that go for only 2.5 million, especially if it looked like the house in the photos. (Note: outside this context, I do not think of 2.5m. as 'only'. Just saying.)

Possibly Sebastian knows more, though.

Yes, this end of the deal looks bad, but the other end ought to be enough to put him away.

And as I mentioned earlier, I think the IRS would be very interested indeed in the differential between appraisal and purchase/sales price of both homes.

Also not a real estate professional, but a current resident nearby (Del Mar, so writing to *my* congressman is not an option). Yes, "the Ranch" remains a very upscale place, and no, I cannot imagine $2.5M as a market price for the house shown--not when houses here, on 1/4 acre lots, often ask $1M. My guess on this is that they all thought that in this housing market a few months would push the price of the home sold into the range it was sold for, and no one would notice. No such thing as a sure thing.

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