BOSTON (CBS) – Everybody knows the old saying: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Fewer know that Lord Acton went on to write: “Great men are almost always bad men.”
That’s a little too cynical, even for me.
But the first, most famous quote rings especially true these days, watching the parade of abuses of power that have given some credence to that second line.
We’re still digging out from under the abusive irresponsibility of Wall Street and their Washington cronies, playing casino games with the economy.
The IRS follies remind us that “Nixonian” is a term that has outlived it’s namesake.
The NSA spying scandal follows a key motto of the abusers – the ends justify the means.
And right here at home, in the cradle of liberty, we’re forced to watch Acton’s nightmare being played out at the federal courthouse, as prosecutors continue to smear House Speaker Robert DeLeo as casually as internet trolls drop their slander in an online comments section.
I do not share DeLeo’s long-held belief that political patronage is a beautiful thing. I’d prefer that public dollars be spent on the public, not on the wired-in.
But there has never been any evidence that DeLeo was capable of criminal conspiracy, as the feds are now claiming, and there is no substantiated allegation that he ever participated in one.
If you were going to have your name dragged through the mud so the Lord Actons of the world could pass judgment on you, wouldn’t you at least want to know what the charge was, what evidence there was for it, and a presumption of innocence?
If the U.S. Attorney has something incriminating on DeLeo, as I guess we’re supposed to believe, we need to know why she declined to charge him.
Or has her power left her blind to the consequences of its abuse?
Listen to Jon’s commentary: