Politics bring out the worst in everyone

Published 8:49 am Wednesday, February 20, 2002

By By Brian Blackley, Publisher
Governor Don Siegelman is seeking to find out who leaked information about subpoena's issued seeking his personal financial information in what appears to be an effort to lay to waste would-be critics that dare to make charges during his re-election campaign which is already under way.
Siegelman believes the leak was politically motivated and, according to a story in The Birmingham News, the "usual suspects" are called into questions by Siegelman and supporters who believe they may know who is at the bottom of all the hoopla.
Those suspects are Attorney General Bill Pryor and Lieutenant Gov. Steve Windom, GOP contender for Siegelman's job.
Politics never cease to amaze me.
Do something illegal? Blame the guy that caught you. Do something unethical? Blame the person that told on you. Do something immoral? Blame the person you did it with for entrapment.
When, oh when, are we going to have some accountability regarding our actions.
I don't know the circumstances of the governor's financial situation and I honestly don't care, as long as nothing illegal, unethical or immoral was done. And I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume there's nothing to it all.
End of story. Case closed.
For me, maybe, but not for the governor.
Why must we, as adults with free will, free speech and free reign over our lives, seek to find out who says bad things about us n true or not true.
If they're true, we need to own up and take our medicine. If they're not, we need to work through the issue at hand and let it die a natural death after we assist in disclosing all sought information.
But right now, we have a president who is seeking to hide documentation of meetings from investigators and a governor who is seeking to find out who leaked information about his subpoena to the press.
Both should quit looking outward to their enemies and should look inward.
Who leaked information to the press is irrelevant; what is important is that the governor moves forward and refrains from reveling in this muckraking campaign.
But what would politics be without muck, and lots of it?
Unfortunately, though, politics is not about accountability as much as it is about blame and spin. Look at the recent escapades of our last two presidents who have refuse to cooperate with investigators by offering full disclosure of information and who have instead pointed the finger of blame at their own accusers. The frightening part is that the both were successful
* * *
Speaking of politics, I want to tell a short story of an encounter two years ago when I had a frank discussion with Lt. Gov. Steve Windom.
While I am not a fan of Gov. Siegelman due to what I perceive to be overt signs of chronic political aggression and questionable ethics, I don't think his opponent is all that great either.
As Alabama geared up for an election to approve or deny a series of constitutional amendments that would, among other things, improve roads and bridges and the port in Mobile, Windom was jockeying for media attention to help him shoot down Amendment 1.
The amendment in question was the brainchild of Siegelman and other politicians who may not have been so inclined to find agreement on broad issues, but who agreed that something needed to be done.
Windom didn't think so. He came by, sat down, and went into an explanation about what a bad plan it was and encouraged us to editorialize against it. To my knowledge, no newspaper opposed the amendment. In fact, the editorial I wrote on behalf of my newspaper encouraged support of it, despite what Windom said.
It passed, of course, but more to the point, Windom didn't.
He opposed a good amendment because of the person whose name was on it. He told me in no uncertain terms that he had no plans whatsoever to try to sleep in the master's chamber in the Governor's Mansion.
His credibility n like that of his political foe n is zero with me.
Brian Blackley is publisher of The Atmore Advance. Contact him at (251) 368-2123 or e-mail him at brian.blackley@atmoreadvance.com.

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