The news accounts about Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and his campaign funds should rightly concern us as citizens. We like to think that our state government should reflect the honor and ethics of the people who live here. Likewise, I strongly suspect that the citizens of this nation are unnerved about the firings of federal prosecutors around the country in an effort by the Bush Administration to place conservative political allies in these positions.
I am not pleased with the substance or tone from either the Wisconsin Democratic Governor in relation to campaign cash, or from the Republican President over using the justice department as a political tool.
More than once I have thought about President Jeb Bartlett on NBC’s drama ‘West Wing’ while reading the morning newspaper. When he offered to be censured by Congress for less than candid answers about his health and MS condition, he told his White House Chief Of Staff that no one in Washington takes the blame for anything anymore. Therefore no one is ever held responsible for anything that goes wrong. As such he stepped up to the front of the line and endured the political punches by doing the right thing on the award winning TV drama.
If only real life at times mimicked television. More often than not when there are serious lapses in judgment in government much finger pointing and commission creating takes place, but little in true accountability ever surfaces. We learn of the mistakes but rarely hear, as Bartlett said, anyone taking any self-blame.
I am so very tired of the drip, drip, drip of information about Governor Jim Doyle and his campaign cash. A full and honest disclosure of any and all-relevant material related to money obtained in a manner and fashion that is not consistent with the state election laws should just be put on the table. Everyone knows that the political system is awash in money, and at times that cash is not amassed in appropriate ways. Republican gubernatorial nominee Mark Green also faced similar problems. Doyle and his team could use their honest approach with the public as a way to ramp up for a real, and tough campaign finance bill that is so very long over due in the state. By turning the current mess of Doyle’s campaign cash (along with the whole system) into an honest debate, something very powerful could be created in Wisconsin’s electoral process. The people are ready for honesty and a cleaner campaign system.
Meanwhile on the national level the President is hemorrhaging in the public polls, and his policy initiatives are flattened due to the blunders and missteps by his Administration. Bush should fess up that ideological priorities took precedent at the Justice Department headed up by Attorney General Gonzales. The President needs to rebuke and fire anyone with a mission of using the justice system in America as a political tool. If that requires the dismissal of Gonzales, so be it. The integrity of our government is vastly more important than the bonds of loyalty between the president and his cabinet.
Both Governor Doyle and President Bush need to be mindful that their mission is to provide leadership and policies that will benefit the people who they serve. To achieve that, they might be mindful of the actions of a fictional politician on television. Someone has to accept the responsibility for the campaign cash mess in Wisconsin, and the political firing of prosecutors around the nation.
What would Jeb Bartlett do?