Monday, March 13, 2006

And If Everybody Jumped Off A Bridge, Would You Do That Too?

When we were little Ironici, like many children, we often emulated the behaviors of adults around us. This usually involved harmless acts of imitation like wearing the old man's shoes, or his hat, or drinking his whiskey.

OK that one taught us an important lesson about the relationship between body mass and alcohol intake.

Anyway, most of these episodes would result in happy clucking from the gathered adults and repetitions of the phrase "Monkey See Monkey Do." Which brings us to today's report from the the administration of president Bush (known to his friends as
Captain: )

The arrest on theft charges of Claude Allen, a former top Bush adviser and previously the most senior African American on the White House staff, was an apparent attempt to show solidarity with the Republican party and president Bush in particular.

"Look, everyone else is in trouble with the law," Allen told reporters outside of the police station. "I felt it was my duty as a good Republican to do something illegal."

Police said Allen had swindled department stores out of more than $5,000 in refunds. "Yeah, it's no Halliburton, and I'm not up there with Abramoff, but I did the best I could," Allen said.

"Well, that explains all those times we caught him going through the clothes donation bin," said the Reverend Joshua Harris, pastor at the Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, where Allen and his family are members.

Through his lawyer, Allen denied the charges, saying that there was a mix-up concerning his credit card. "The mix up was I used my own credit card instead of someone else's."

Bush said on Saturday that he was saddened by the charges against Allen. He said the information in those charges was different from the account that Allen had given to the White House staff. "He told us he was sure he could get away with it," the president said.

A longtime conservative, Allen started his career working for Jesse Helms, the former Republican senator from North Carolina. "That should have been a clue," said White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. "But how many times does a token walk through your door and say 'I'm clueless, but I want to work for the Republican party'? We couldn't pass it up."

A former deputy secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services, Allen was nominated in 2003 to a federal appeals court seat, but Senate Democrats blocked him. "Did you see that guy's rap sheet?" said Senator Patrick Leahy, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. "It was longer than some of the people who would have come before him."

He was appointed the president's top domestic policy adviser last year at the start of Bush's second term. In February, Allen resigned abruptly, citing a desire to spend more time looking for a good lawyer.

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