by Victor Davis Hanson
NRO’s The Corner
Rarely has a single scandal summed up nearly all the current pathologies of the corrupt Washington scene, combining insider bailouts, revolving-door influence peddling, racial-identity politics, subsidies for failing institutions that have a proven record of partisan Democratic politics, and Democratic efforts to reward wealthy friends under the guise of social justice.
What do you do when few people are listening to your radio stations, and, as a result, ad revenues are not sufficient to pay your rather large overhead and debts? Not hard to guess.
The New York Times reports that the Congressional Black Caucus is holding up legislation until it wins a bailout for a conglomerate of black-owned inner-city radio stations, which are apparently quite broke. (Rush Limbaugh did not make this up.)
Inner City Broadcasting reportedly owes $230 million to the likes of GE Capital and Goldman Sachs — and, not surprisingly, it has no wish to pay back all those millions.
So? Yes, in the Age of Obama, you do the following:
1) Get the Black Caucus to strong-arm the administration into sending you the cash while providing the proper progressive cover. (In their words: “It is absolutely essential that we do not allow this once-in-a-generation financial crisis to erase the modest inroads minorities have made into the broadcast industry.”)
2) Make sure that you contact the proper administration authorities, such as Timothy Geithner and Rahm Emanuel. (“We share the concerns raised by C.B.C. members about struggling minority communities, and that’s why we’ve engaged in a positive way to make progress on these issues,” said White House spokeswoman Jennifer R. Psaki.)
3) Hire a liberal-insider lobbyist firm, such as the Podesta Group, to apply the pressure.
4) Get the right Podesta hirelings assigned to your case, such as the former executive director himself of the Black Caucus, and a former senior aide to Sen. Charles Schumer.
5) Choose the right members of Congress to lead the shakedown: members who have little concern about ethics (such as Rep. Charles Rangel, a large recipient of Inner City Broadcasting cash) and/or a proven record of wasting government funds on behalf of liberal constituencies (such as Rep. Barney Frank of Fannie Mae fame).
6) Make sure that a proven attack dog, such as Rep. Maxine Waters, supplies the proper race/class context. (“While we appreciate the need for the expansion of regulatory authority, we can no longer afford for our public policy to be defined by the world view of Wall Street,” Waters said.)
Presto! You get results — or, in the boast of Inner City head Pierre Sutton, “They got the message.”
A fiction writer could not dream up characters like Emanuel, Frank, Geithner, Podesta, Rangel, and Waters — with GE and Goldman Sachs as relish! — all in one novel.
©2009 Victor Davis Hanson