Friday, September 28, 2007

Kaine shows Republicans how good government is done

Mistakes are inevitable in government because government is a human institution and humans are imperfect. Good government does not consist of being perfect.

What separates good government from bad government is how you deal with mistakes. Good government deals with mistakes quickly and honestly, without trying to cover up. Governor Tim Kaine demonstrated yesterday what good government is when he discovered that one of his appointees, Dr. Esam S. Omeish, had made improper statements regarding Jihad, Israel, and Palestine. Kaine moved swiftly and demanded the resignation of Omeish.

Kaine's behavior compares favorably to that of the Republican Party in general, and the Bush administration in particular. Time and time again we have seen Bush appointees embroiled in scandals relating to incompetence, misconduct, racism, and corruption. Time and time again we have seen Bush cover (and cover up) for his appointees. When a Bush appointee is caught participating in obvious misconduct--Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Gonzalez, Rove, Libby--it can take months, even years for them to be forced out: all because George W. Bush can't admit he makes mistakes. Sometimes, when a Republican does something wrong, Republicans rally around them and pay their legal bills and fines. When they are convicted of four serious felonies, George W. Bush pardons them. That is the Republican way.

But Bush is not alone. Congressional Republicans knew about Mark Foley for months, in some cases years, but Republican Congressional leadership chose to do nothing and may have even covered for Foley. The Republican in Congress continue to cover for Senator David Vitter. Senator Larry Craig has reneged on his announced decision to retire and the Republican outrage is . . . well there isn't any Republican outrage, is there?

So, while Governor Kaine's appointment of Dr. Esam S. Omeish was unfortunate and regrettable, his swift, decisive action in demanding Omeish's resignation is a model for how to address the inevitable mistakes that arise from the human factor in government.

If the Republican Party of Virginia mistakenly appointed--or, hypothetically speaking, nominated--someone with a background very similar to Omeish's, they'd probably cover it up or just try to gut it out, pretending there was no problem at all.

Compared to Tim Kaine's swift and responsible action, the Republican record is shameful.

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