Sunday, November 30, 2008

Out to Get You? Sure...

They're Out Ta Get Me / They Won't Catch Me / I'm F---ing Innocent."

--Axl Rose, "Out Ta Get Me," Appetite for Destruction

I've been trying to keep up with the back-and-forth concerning State Sen. Wilkerson and Boston City Councilman Turner's candid camera moments (For you out-of-staters, both were caught on tape pocketing bribes).

The big response from a lot of their supporters seems to be less "it was a misunderstanding" and more about how the conspiratorial idea that "they" were "out to get" Wilkerson and/or Turner should somehow mitigate the action.

Obviously, there's a racial implication that could come with that, but it's worth noting that defenders of such notables as Eliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, Ted Stevens, and Bill Clinton used the same "defense," so it's clear that it can cut across several lines.

My response to all of this?

Well, duh.

As I started to write about in the last entry, anyone in any type of public or prominent position should operate under the assumption that virtually anything they do outside of their home can and will be recorded for posterity. That was always more or less true, but in the days where anyone with a web connection can report (gotta love blogs), anyone with a phone can record, and where YouTube means the anonymous millions can experience the schadenfraude that comes with your downfall, that becomes especially true.

For partisan elective officeholders, that's especially true -- besides the general idea that watchdogs like the FBI (or, say, undercover police assigned to monitor a particularly notorious men's room at the Minneapolis airport) might be monitoring you for a sudden integrity check, you also have to remember that you will always have folks from the other side of the political aisle nipping at your heels every two or four years.

So yes, it's fair to say that they really are "out to get you."** (That is, even though there's NO evidence that partisan conspiracies inspired any of the above...unless you believe a 9-0 Supreme Court decision to proceed with the Paula Jones harassment case against the sitting President was a 'partisan conspiracy').

So just behave with integrity and it really shouldn't be a problem.

Or, better yet, just retire to private life and spare me the pain of your self-righteous indignation.

** With due props, of course, to Nick for pointing this out in his comment following the Spitzer resignation.

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