'Culture of Corruption' (2009)

Michelle Malkin, Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies (2009)
Regnery Publishing, Inc.
376 pages (plus four color pages of mugshots)
ISBN 978-1-59698-109-6
Buy it here.

Welcome to the world of the corruptocrats, ethically-challenged public officials who think freedom means license, morals are for morons, and everything is for sale — up to and including national sovereignty.

If you haven’t been following developments on super-blogger Michelle Malkin’s website lately, then the revelations contained in Culture of Corruption could have the mind-clearing effect of a smack in the face with a wet mackerel. After all, these are our elected officials (except for the "czars") who have sworn to uphold the Constitution and all the laws of the land. Far from it. These people, as the kids used to say, weird me out.

"[W]e prefer to use the power of persuasion, but if that doesn’t work we use the persuasion of power." — Andy Stern, President of SEIU and supplier of at least $27 million to the Obama campaign.

Michelle is clear about what her aim was in writing Culture of Corruption:

This book pulls together the familiar and not-so-familiar pieces of the transition in crisis to force Obama hagiographers to confront an alternate narrative. A reality-based narrative. A narrative of incompetence, nepotism, influence-peddling, and self-dealing that defies the stubborn myth that Barack Obama is the One True Agent of Hope and Change.

(Parenthetically, we should emphasize that while she correctly nails some Republicans in passing for their own misdeeds, her main focus is on the current Democrat administration. We might add that Republicans aspiring to stratospheric levels of corruption could learn a thing or two from the Democrats — they make anything the Repubs have done pale in comparison.)

Ah, yes, Hope and Change, the end of the old ways of doing things in Washington, a fresh break from the stale, ossified power structure — weren’t these the promised benefits of pulling the lever for The One? Not so fast:

A comprehensive look at the men and women serving Barack Obama, however, exudes the freshness of a bologna sandwich left in a Lincoln Town Car parked in the muggy heat of Washington, D. C., in the middle of August with the windows rolled up for a week. Within days of President Obama’s swearing in, the lemon-fresh scent of "Hope and Change" had been overpowered by the fetid odor of Beltway swamp business as usual.

Any instances of bipartisanship that you might detect occurring on Capitol Hill, as Michelle points out, almost always mutually serve the two parties’ self-interest — and on such rare occasions Average Joe and Jane Citizen get it in the neck:

… donkeys and elephants have always come together in the spirit of expanding government, rolling logs, and barreling pork.

It’s the Chicago Way writ large:

In the Chicago patronage culture that made Michelle Obama, the color that matters most is neither black nor white, it is green — the color of money.

To get things done their way without much fanfare, the new administration has decided to do an end run around the Constitution’s system of checks and balances by adopting the transparency-nullifying czar approach to governing — and that’s also the Chicago Way:

In effect, the Obama administration has created a two-tiered government — fronted by Cabinet secretaries able to withstand public scrutiny (some of them, just barely) and run behind the scenes by shadow secretaries with broad powers beyond the reach of congressional accountability …. Obama’s czar class … operates by different rules and different ethics. Unchecked, these shadow despots with spotty records could wreak major havoc on the economy.

Things couldn’t have gotten this bad, however, without the widespread incuriosity on the part of American citizens (helped along, in large part, by the somnifacient "reporting" by an uncritical media culture that still experiences a thrill up its collective leg when contemplating the wonders of The One):

As is so often the case in political life, the scandal isn’t necessarily what’s illegal — the scandal is what’s legal.

Take for instance Chris Dodd, the man pushing for the $300 billion mortgage industry bailout; if ever there was a plainer example of conflict of interest in America’s history, we don’t know of it:

Everything you need to know about the befouling of the Beltway swamp can be found in the rise and fall of Chris Dodd — and in Barack Obama’s affirmation [to support Dodd’s re-election] of his "extraordinary record of accomplishment."

As bad as Dodd is, however, his ability to endanger Americans’ lives directly is greatly limited in comparison with the new Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. If a nuke detonates over New York, it just could be due to her incompetence — oh, and let’s not forget her jet-setting loose cannon of a husband. With Hill and Bill, it’s buy one and get one free. These days Bubba is more inclined to hobnob with international financiers and well-heeled dictators than chicken farmers. Is it possible that Bill’s overseas patrons might be able to influence Hill’s decision-making in Foggy Bottom? Do bears go in the woods?

By all means, read Culture of Corruption. If you’re a wide-eyed Obamanaut, you might change your mind.

This book would look right at home on the same shelf with Machiavelli’s Prince, Ness’s Untouchables, and Alfia and Lipton’s indispensable Field Guide to Left-Wing Wackos.

Highly recommended.


Mike Gray