Recently Chairman Corey Stewart complained to the Washington Post about “conservative bloggers trying to paint him into a corner” in regards to ethics reform on the Prince William County Board. For years this same segment of the electorate were among his most dedicated and reliable supporters. When he wanted to get something done, these were the opinion leaders he counted on to help him succeed. Suddenly they’re “accusing” and “arm twisting” elected officials towards trying to do something Chairman Stewart doesn’t seem much interested in doing.
So why this sudden change? Have bloggers gone mad?
First, let’s set the record straight on what’s going on here. One, it’s not “conservative” blogs that have decided to heap criticism on the Board for clinging to their privileges of ladling out taxpayer “discretionary” funds to political supporters, or for handing over taxpayer money to entities where supervisors or their families have a fiduciary responsibility to those entities. It’s all the blogs of every political leaning, and each and every one of them not only thinks this is a problem, but a big one. Democrats, conservatives, libertarians, all of them all agree are clamoring for reform and all of them are appreciative of the one actual conservative on the board who is leading the charge on this — Peter Candland. Seriously, you have hard-core, pro-abortion, welfare-statist, illegal alien loving, spread-the-wealth-around leftists saying lots of nice things about Peter Candland. The only ones trying to defend these conflicts of interest are the ones seeking to get taxpayer money for their pet projects. That’s it. Everyone else amazingly believes that conflicts of interest are bad things. Go figure.
Second, this hasn’t been the case just recently, but consistently, for years. I’ve been bitterly complaining about these very issues at the state and local level since 2006. Blogs that have come and gone, and who have supported Democrat challengers to Republican supervisors consistently agreed with conservatives on this issue. The problem didn’t generate a whole lot of media attention because there wasn’t anything blatantly outrageous to complain about — just mundane, garden-variety thievery of the public coffers for personal political interests — until Supervisor Wally Convington did something so outrageous, so brazen, and so utterly offensive that it finally garnered the attention of the mainstream media. Having someone willing to carry the torch for reform has helped enormously on this issue, and that’s where this has gone from just complaints about bad politics to a widespread desire to see as many sitting supervisors as possible indicted for criminal offenses, prosecuted with vigor, and subjected to the harshest penalties for their behavior that the law allows.
It would be difficult enough to have a spirited policy debate with strong disagreements about what county policy should be in regards to diverting taxpayer dollars to friends and political allies, but in the end, after that debate concluded, strong emotions such as we see now wouldn’t be so widespread. What has instead happened was that the veteran supervisors decided to throw gasoline all over this long-smoldering fire by quite openly trying to punish Supervisor Peter Candland for trying to reform county government. The more they try to punish him for doing what they should have had the moral courage to do themselves long ago, the more they cement their position in the public eye of being thoroughly corrupt plutocrats interested in little more than stealing money from taxpayers, holding on to political power at any cost, and making the residents of the county feel like the butt of a very bad joke.
We’ve had supervisors use taxpayer money to promote their political campaigns. They’ve helped friends and family members gain influence by directing taxpayer dollars to charities controlled by their friends. They’ve directed taxpayer money towards entities that have financial dealings with their own business interests. They’ve sent taxpayer dollars to third parties that turn around and give that money back to their political campaigns. All of these are criminal violations of the law, and the Board of Supervisors is fighting tooth-and-nail to make sure they can continue to behave this way.
Am I accusing you, Supervisors? You better believe it. So is everyone else.
The uncomfortable corner that you feel you now inhabit is not one of my creation. You did this on your own, thinking that somehow no one would ever notice what you’ve done. If you were stupid enough to think that no one would ever discover the terrifying depths of your corrupt political corpses, you exercised no better judgment than your former employee Maneesh Gupta of the Office of Information Technology. If you were so stupid as to think that the appropriate response to recent events was to punish Supervisor Candland and inflame public opinion, you apparently have never heard of Richard Nixon. If you really think you can survive being on the wrong side of this issue in the face of near-universal moral outrage, you haven’t heard of Jeff Dion, Jeanette Rishell, and Omar Omeish.
Whining about “conservative bloggers” “painting you into a corner” is not the way out of this mess you’ve created. If you really think that’s the problem here, pretty soon we’re going to make that corner a whole lot tighter and a lot more uncomfortable. It’s well past time to stop whining like a bunch of misbehaving five year-olds begging for their eighteenth My Little Pony toy from Walmart and start demonstrating some adult behavior. Now. We’re sick of this.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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