Sunday, September 27, 2009

Book Review: Culture of Corruption

Michelle Malkin's Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies is a very interesting and timely book. It seems like each week brings new revelations about a czar or other nominee in President Obama's cabinet. Just this past Labor Day weekend Van Jones, Green Jobs Czar, quit in the middle of the night. The announcement was made just after midnight on a Saturday. Not quite the actions of a transparent administration.

Michelle Malkin's book covers a number of czars and other members of the administration. She has a chapter on Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden for example. Some of the ties to scandal, dirty money, and corruption that each of these three have in their history is really disturbing. Perhaps the most scandal plagued chapters are on czars and President Obama's ties to Acorn (the chapter is titled "Obamacorn"). At the beginning of the chapter, Mrs. Malkin cites then Candidate Obamas words from February 2008:

I come out of a grassroots organizing background. That's what I did for three and half years before I went to law school. That's the reason I moved to Chicago was to organize. So this is something that I know personally, the work you do, the importance of it. I've been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.

One of the most impressive things about Culture of Corruption is where Mrs. Malkin draws her criticisms from. It would be easy to write a book like this while citing Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, or Fox News. Mrs. Malkin instead references a number of liberal groups, reporters and papers in addition to sources such as Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) or President Obama himself. In the above quote, she uses Obama's own words to tie him to ACORN. One would expect this from someone with her credentials. I have followed her blog for sometime and have seen her go after Republican and Democrat alike. I wasn't aware of her history with the Seattle Times where she won the,"...Council on Government Ethics Laws (COGEL) national award for outstanding service for the cause of government ethics and leadership, and for investigative columns that expose campaign finance abuses and corruption by Washington State Democrats, Republicans, and political organizations."

In the introduction to the czar chapter ("Backroom Buddies: Dancing with the Czars"), Mrs. Malkin quotes a letter Senator Byrd wrote to Obama in February of this year. It seems Senator Byrd had a number of concerns about the czars and the number of czars President Obama was appointing. Among the concerns of Senator Byrd's:

  1. What is the relationship between the czars and their counterparts in the Executive branch?
  2. Will the lines of authority between the czars and their counterparts be used (accidentally or purposefully) to hide information or provide cover for people making bad decisions?
  3. Would the czars be accountable to Congress or the American public?

It's not often that I agree with Senator Byrd, but these are very valid points. Recently, more Democrats have joined in with their own concerns regarding the czars. The Politico recently quoted both Sen. Russ Feingold and Sen. Dianne Feinstein as having concerns about the czars, their responsibilities, and their accountability. Currently, czars don't go through any sort of congressional confirmation. Many members are now calling on the czars to testify before congress.

Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies is a very critical look at the President and the people he has surrounded himself with. Unlike Bill Ayers and Rev. Jeremiah Wright, these are the people the President has selected to run this country. They should have the bright light of public scrutiny shown on them. Michelle Malkin's book is a great first step. It should be read by anyone who wants to know more about the "transparent" Obama administration or believes that elected officials (Republican or Democratic) should be held accountable to the public.


Fran Langum / Blue Gal said...

I will not debate the merits of Michelle Malkin or her book, but I do have a question for her, which you probably cannot answer, but I'll post here anyway.

When did she decide to write this book and sign a contract to do so? Either she did so before the election (likely given the timeframe for book publishing) in which case she threw her party under the bus for money, or she signed it right after the election/inauguration, in which case she's a total partisan hack who would find a way to fabricate "evidence" against this President in time for the fall publication season.

A book is not a blog post. One can't publish it the same day you talk about it on "The View." Her planning of this book shows her selfish pursuit of a platform (she cannot have made any money on this book--it's published by Regnery which is notorious for ripping off their authors) at the expense of honest coverage of "current" events.

Andy D said...

I am not sure you can question the intent of an author without discussing the book itself.

I am not aware of when the deal for this book was signed nor do I know exactly what Mrs. Malkin's motivation for it is. I will tell you from reading it that at least a portion of the book was drawn from her time as a Seattle journalist. I would also suspect that the bulk of the research for the book came from research she does for her blog.

Much of the information in the book is heavily documented. If you think she has fabricated any of it, I would encourage you to point out specific examples and provide evidence to counter it.

robert said...

Breaking news: there is corruption in washington. she could have written about any administration in the last fifty years and done the same thing: expose all of the cronies and political hacks. if this were an honest piece of journalism and not ideology driven, she would have pointed out the same hacks and cronies in the previous administration. that kind of book wouldn't get her on fox news, would it?

Andy D said...

Sure there is corruption in Washington, I wouldn't debate that. However, President Obama has claimed his administration is above this, his administration is a new open and transparent administration. That is obviously not the case.