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Perps Ken Lay models the image of the GOP for 2004
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
Zepp's Commentaries
July 9, 2004

Man, it sure was fun watching Kenny Boy do the perp walk, wasn't it?

Right wingers promptly howled that glee at his predicament showed that "liberals" (i.e., those millions of Americans victimized by Enron and other corporate scandals) had no faith in the concept of "innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."

Of course, most people understand the concept and approve of it in principle, even if they have trouble with it in day-to-day life.

But in the case of Ken Lay, it took THREE YEARS to bring an indictment, and it came at a time when Americans were trying to pretend the Putsch junta wasn't the most corrupt and secretive administration in history, one contemptuous of justice and of answering to the people.

A lot of people knew that there was more than enough evidence to indict Ken Lay for his role as CEO in the Enron bloodbath, and the weeks stretched into months, months into years, and still no indictment.

It was as if, under this fascist regime, the government had given up even the pretense that the rich and powerful were subject to the same laws as the rest of us.

So that "glee" that so distressed the right wing lickspittles was, for the most part, relief that the system was still functioning enough to make Ken Lay do a perp walk. In these days, when Dick Cheney tells Senators who want to investigate his energy policy to go fuck themselves, and District Court judges turn out to be the authors of memos that justify torture, and Faux News sues -- successfully -- for the right to lie to the public, it's nice to know that not all our institutions are populated exclusively by scumbuckets.

Has there ever been a time in America's history when authorities were so disreputable and contemptible as those inflicted upon us by the right wing?

Of course, I did feel a certain amount of glee at seeing Lay in cuffs for the cameras. If he's guilty, I hope they nail the son of a bitch's hide to the wall. A lot of people suffered because of the Enron collapse, and their energy shenanigans ripped off California to the tune of billions, and the state is still struggling to recover from that. (Governor Mein Magniviscent Vang has been dealing with the ongoing budget crisis by borrowing tons of money, cutting essential services, shafting the counties and cities, and raising taxes, which leaves people wondering if the latex suit and phony accent really make Grey Davis a better governor).

So far in the Enron scandal, 30 people have been indicted, and 10 have subsequently been found guilty of a wide array of criminal charges. And of course, the "grandma Millie" audiotapes surfaced, removing any possible doubt of the malice and illegal intent behind Enron's manipulations of the energy markets in California.

Ken Lay was the chief, the man in charge. This all happened on his watch. While it's up to the court to decide what degree of personal and criminal responsibility he had, there's no doubt that Enron committed vast crimes, and that he was in charge. His guilt needs to be decided by a jury, but his responsibility is beyond any reasonable doubt.

Too bad they couldn't send him to Abu Ghraib for questioning.

Nah. I take that back. I'm not Republican enough to advocate the man be tortured and humiliated in the name of gathering information.

Of course, one big element of all this is his relationship with Putsch. The White House tries to describe Ken Lay as "just a supporter," who donated to both Republicans and Democrats, but they forget to mention that Ken Lay slept in the Lincoln bedroom on numerous occasions when Putsch's daddy was President, and they forget to mention that Ken Lay's contributions to political parties not only leaned 10-1 in favor of Republicans, but that over all, his contributions to George W. were greater than his contributions to all Democrats.

I think that even Putsch understands that Ken Lay as his good buddy, "Kenny Boy," is something of a political liability. Today, at a campaign stop, reporters (some of whom have finally realized that if they want to maintain any credibility at all, they need to start asking Putsch tough questions) asked him about Ken Lay, and the brittle and weak President cut off questions and stalked off the stage, leaving Scotty to run damage control and explain, once again, that Ken Lay was just a supporter, nothing more.

It doesn't look like Putsch is going to get the free ride from the media that he got in 2000. This time around, the press isn't going to be cooing, "aw, isn't that CUTE!" when he can't tell us who the prime minister of Pakistan is, or tries to bareface his way out of one of his numerous self-contradictions with such outrageous lines as "I support ASSERTIVE action, not affirmative action."

And if he keeps running away every time a reporter asks an awkward question, the voters are going to notice, and he's going to get his ass kicked in November.

After the press conference, Putsch towed daughter Jenna, arrest-free for several years now, around to show he was a family-values kind of guy. He reported that he listened to his daughters' suggestions too, noting that Jenna had just told him to change his shirt.

Is "shirt" some kind of Texas slang for "underwear"?

One of the funnier elements in the campaign came when a reporter asked him to compare John Edwards to Dick F.M. Cheney. "Cheney could be President" he replied, a remark that brought laugher from people who think Cheney already IS president, and the dull-witted Putsch just his sock puppet. The polls bore this out -- Kerry got a boost of some 6% by picking Edwards in terms of "more likely/less likely to vote for him if" questions, while voters, asked about Putsch retaining Cheney, showed a minus -9%. Cheney is a drag on the ticket, but what are you going to do? He's the actual president.

The GOP even tried to capitalize on the first names of the Democratic ticket, referring to them as "the Johnnies." The Democrats, in a wicked riposte, produced buttons and bumper stickers that read, "It takes two Johns to flush the White House."

Some right wingers are saying that Bill Clinton, still the giant of the Democratic Party, will be the "third man" on the ticket. That's fair. I would sooner have him in the background, playing sax, while Putsch struggles to get votes with a ticket that includes Cheney as acting president, and Ken Lay as the third man.

Posted: July 11, 2004


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