Coleman v. Blago

By Matthew Yglesias

Jon Chait has a column about the oddly disproportionate attention being paid to Rod Blagojevich’s scandalous behavior and that being paid to Norm Coleman’s roughly equal wrongdoings:

None of these factors, however, make the disparate treatment of Blagojevich and Coleman any less bizarre. Blagojevich’s fellow Democrats have treated him like a war criminal. Not only did they rush to pronounce him guilty, they fought tooth and nail to deny a Senate seat to his appointee Roland Burris, without requiring even the whiff of wrongdoing on Burris’s part.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are staunchly defending Coleman’s hopeless legal challenge to overturn Franken’s victory. Last week, the Republican Jewish Coalition hired Coleman as a spokesman. The RJC announced, “we are eager for him to travel across the country on our behalf and to be an important voice within the organization.” Republicans aren’t just defending Coleman, they’re going out of their way to keep him in the public eye! Do they even realize this man is being investigated by the FBI?


I suspect, of course, that the disparate treatment by partisans is part of the reason why the scandals are treated differently. Because conservatives don’t mind corruption on the part of conservative public officials, conservatives are staunchly defending Coleman. And because conservatives are staunchly defending Coleman, pointing out that Coleman is corrupt is “partisan” and the press, which is hugely irresponsible, can’t and won’t focus in on it in a clear way. And because the press won’t tell the truth, conservative politicians pay little price for their steadfast support for corruption. But because at least some progressives genuinely care about good government, Blagojevic has been unable to turn the allegations against him into a “partisan” controversy meriting “even-handed” press coverage.