I come not to praise Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, but to help bury him.
Forget the $250,000 he’s been indicted for acquiring illegally. The guy stole billions—billions—of dollars by siphoning taxpayer money into a state that has 1/12 as many people as Los Angeles County. Think he sent Angelenos 8 times the money he sent Alaska?
The rest of the Senate shares much of the blame for Stevens’ 40-year theft, voting for this guy’s unconscionably greedy appropriations year after year after year. When we hear how “powerful” a member of Congress is, it means that his/her colleagues have given him/her that power—in exchange for favors, past and future. As Mark Twain said, “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”
And yet Stevens alone deserves the blame—the revulsion, disdain, and spitting on his name—for his gross hypocrisy.
You may recall that in 2005 he convened hearings on “Indecency in the Media.”
The “hearings” were rigged, designed to force the TV industry to “voluntarily” make their content more “family friendly.” “Those who represent the families of America,” said Stevens, believe the media does not provide “the kind of moral compass that our country should have for our young people.”
“Moral compass”—as in “thou shalt not steal, nor break the incredibly-generous Senate rules you’ve exploited to become fabulously wealthy.”
Only days later, Stevens was again using the FCC to attack American freedom. The FCC abruptly gave itself the right to decide that one-time uses of common cuss words on TV or radio were “indecent,” subjecting a station broadcasting such a word to enormous fines. (Exactly what part of “…shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” don’t you FCC commissioners understand?)
When a federal Appeals Court ruled that the FCC couldn’t give itself the right to criminalize everyday speech, Stevens co-sponsored a bill to overturn the court’s decision, mandating that the FCC “maintain a policy that a single word or image may constitute indecent programming.” Again, he said he was concerned that sexual words and images in the media were undermining America’s “morality.”
But the FBI had been investigating Alaska’s state senators and corrupt contractors, and soon busted six state lawmakers, including the senator’s son, Ben, who was then president of State Senate. Senator Stevens’s home was also raided by the FBI as part of the major corruption case, as he had accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of illegal gifts from contractors who were receiving enormous federal contracts (which they still have).
So while Stevens was bludgeoning our freedoms because of his supposed concern about American morals, he was stealing. He was taking bribes. Doesn’t that count as part of “morality”?
I’m sick of “morality” being defined solely as limiting sexual expression. Lying, bribing, and cheating are all violations of “morality” that affect our kids. But as we’ve seen with anti-sex hypocrites such as the disgraced Trent Lott, Randy “Duke” Cunningham, Ralph Reed, Lou Sheldon, and Pat Robertson, they don’t know “morality” from a hole in the ground. They spew anti-sex hatred and ignorance in the name of “morality,” then steal, cheat, bribe, gossip, lie, and keep library books overdue.
And I’m not even talking about anti-sex politicians who are secretly into sex, such as Larry Craig or Ted Haggard. That’s hypocrisy of a different sort.
The Feds have been investigating Stevens for several years, and last week indicted him only on charges that are airtight—passing up dozens of other juicy violations of law and of public trust. This guy is guilty, and I plan to enjoy watching him roast.
Now he’ll have time to travel his shameful $400,000,000 “bridge to nowhere.” ‘Cause that’s exactly where he’s going.