Remember last month when MSNBC's Rachel Maddow could not bring herself to even whisper that corrupt convicted mayors in Trenton and New Orleans were (place finger to lips) Democrats ...?
Last night, the pendulum swung all the way to the other side. There are so many Dems answering awkward questions from police and FBI agents that Maddow threw ideological caution to the wind and repeatedly -- almost obsessively -- cited their party affiliation. Curiouser still, to borrow from Lewis Carroll, Maddow downplayed what were arguably the most serious accusations of all, those leveled at California state senator Leland Yee. (Video after the jump)
Maddow first cited the travails of California Democrat state senator Roderick Wright, who was convicted in January on eight felony counts. Since then, Wright has refused to resign from his seat and continues to get paid while on, uh, "personal leave." State senators debated whether to kick him out of the legislature, Maddow said, "but his fellow Democrats voted that they did not want to." Heck, what's the point of maintaining a supermajority if you can't keep convicted felons in office?
Next up, state senator Ron Calderon, another California Democrat, was arraigned in February on federal corruption charges, a hefty 24-count indictment "that could imprison him for decades," according to the Sacramento Bee. As with Wright, Calderon refuses to resign and Democrats won't force him out, Maddow tells us.
It wasn't until two-thirds of the way through the 8:45-minute segment that Maddow got to the Democratic state senator that most Americans who follow the news had probably heard about by the time Maddow weighed in. Early yesterday morning, hundreds of FBI agents and state police conducted raids across California and arrested 26 people "in a huge corruption, gun-running, racketeering, drug trafficking sting," Maddow said.
One of those arrested was Democrat state senator Leland Yee. Here's how Maddow described what Lee is accused of --
Although all these 26 suspects were arraigned today on a wide array of charges, Senator Yee specifically was charged with public corruption, with soliciting funds from what turned out to be undercover FBI operatives. The senator allegedly offered to help those operatives in the state capital in Sacramento in exchange for them giving him campaign cash.
Well, that's one way of describing it. The New York Daily News took another approach --
A California state senator has been arrested for promising shoulder-fired automatic weapons and missiles from a Muslim separatist group to an undercover FBI agent in exchange for campaign donations, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday.
According to Maddow, Yee merely offered to "help" FBI agents in Sacramento in exchange for campaign contributions. What Maddow neglected to mention was that Yee was accused of helping an undercover agent acquire weapons from jihadists.
Turns out this alleged gun-runner with a yen for cash is also -- wait for it -- a "gun control crusader," according to ABC. Is it starting to make sense why Maddow buried this? Not only does it run counter to MSNBC's world view -- to wit, the only jihad is the one waged by conservatives against Obama -- but anti-gun advocates simply aren't capable of breaking gun laws. OK, maybe this can happen, but that doesn't mean it's going to be reported on MSNBC -- not if Maddow can prevent it. Give the woman credit, she's got her standards. Look at how often Maddow pointed out that all these shady pols are Democrats, 27 times in less than nine minutes, roughly once every 20 seconds. See how balanced she is?
Maddow also pointed out that Rhode Island Democrats are looking for another House Speaker after their last one abruptly resigned following police and FBI raids on his home and office, and the Democratic mayor of Charlotte, N.C., has been indicted on bribery charges after only four months in office.
Even though plenty of Republicans have been mired in scandal over the last several months, Maddow said, "today was basically Democratic catch-up day on the reasons why the word politician has become an insult in our country. Today the Democrats did their part."
"Smell the bipartisanship," Maddow snarkily concluded. "Seriously, smell it." But don't take another look at the case involving Leland Yee. That one hits a little too close to home.