It’s alchemy. Take a middle-class or moderately wealthy politician and send him or her to Washington long enough. Presto! Suddenly his wealth may not be so moderate anymore, thanks to the right friends; and The Solomon Scandals is partly about the golden futures of certain public servants. The latest defense scandals may have arisen from this mindset among insiders.
But sometimes the press can be a little too hard on politicians or at least may employ double standards. Such is the case with a New York Times story by John Broder, about Al Gore. Gore may in fact end up a clean-energy billionaire, given all the money he’s making off the green technology he advocated while in the White House. Oddly, however, the Broder story fails to mention public officials with past, present and future ties to the oil industry, Bush cabinet members included.
I’d rather that more separation exist between public and private business—Broder was right to raise questions. But meanwhile, how about a little consistency, via a few paragraphs about oil-related conflicts of interests? At least, as Gore has noted, he is putting his money where his mouth is.