Drain the Swamp

by Whitney Pitcher

Outside of Chicago, most of Illinois is generally seen as farmland with small to medium sized cities and small towns dotting the landscape. However, although central Illinois is well known for having some of the richest soil in the world, southern Illinois was not always fertile farmland. In fact, many of the early settlers died from malaria due to the mosquito infestation of the swampland that covered nearly a fourth of the state.  In the 1800s, settlers to Illinois began to install underground tile drains and ditches to drain the swampland. This allowed them to use the land to begin farming to provide for their families, as the once swampy land was now suitable to be settled.

What does this have to with politics? Everything. When Nancy Pelosi took over as Speaker of the House in 2007, she promised to “drain the swamp” and lead the “most honest and open Congress in history”:

One can only think of Governor Palin’s words at her speech in Indianola, Iowa in September when she called out the crony capitalism of the permanent political class:

Yeah, the permanent political class – they’re doing just fine. Ever notice how so many of them arrive in Washington, D.C. of modest means and then miraculously throughout the years they end up becoming very, very wealthy? Well, it’s because they derive power and their wealth from their access to our money – to taxpayer dollars.  They use it to bail out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies, and to reward campaign contributors, and to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste. And there is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism. This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare. This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe’s economies. It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest – to the little guys. It’s a slap in the face to our small business owners – the true entrepreneurs, the job creators accounting for 70% of the jobs in America, it’s you who own these small businesses, you’re the economic engine, but you don’t grease the wheels of government power.

The last week or so has provided us more of peek into what Governor Palin has been mentioning over the past several months—that the crony capitalism of Solyndra is only the “tip of the iceberg”. The 60 Minutes segment that aired on Sunday highlighted the crony capitalism and unethical (but frustratingly not illegal) insider trading done by Congresswoman Pelosi and other member of Congress like Congressman Baucus, whom Andrew Breitbart is calling to resign.  Governor Palin’s adviser, Peter Schweizer has a book out today entitled Throw Them All Out where he writes in depth about the crony capitalism and unethical dealings of members of both parties. Tony Lee at Human Events has a good review of the book here.

Governor Palin has made fighting corruption and crony capitalism the foundation of her time in public service and the last year and a half as well. Whether it was calling out a fellow city council member nearly twenty years ago for trying to steer business to his company through regulation or highlighting the crony capitalism of the Obama administration and the permanent political class as a whole in recent months, Governor Palin has shined a bright light on the corruption and cronyism that is pervasive in government. With her decision not to seek the presidency at this time, many conservatives and clean government advocates feel a bit lost and rudderless. However, it should be noted that the settlers who arrived in Illinois did not start farming until the swamps were drained. The same could be true of the swamp of Washington D.C. Could this proverbial iceberg bring down the Titanic of crony capitalism? Could this swamp draining allow Governor Palin and/ or other reform minded corruption fighters to cultivate a harvest of clean government in the future?  Time will tell, but let us keep vigilant in the meantime. What has become the status quo in Washington, in our state capitals, and in our city halls should not be acceptable. We must hold our leaders to high standards and support those running for office who will be supportive of draining the swamp rather than infesting it.



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4 responses to “Drain the Swamp

  1. Jim Thompson

    Well, welll, well. It looks as though Nancy Pelosi Is reeling From Steve Kroft’s Question. She was completely caught off guard on this one, and I do believe there’s more to come out of this one. Crony Capitalism. If this is the earthquake Sarah Palin is expecting to change her mind on running for president, my goodness this is it. Think about it Nancy Pelosi reeling from CBS’ Steve Kroft out of all people, this quake has the potential of setting the political world off of it axis. With that speech she gave In Iowa early this past September, Sarah Palin Is Draining the swamp herself. Heck. She’s right. Maybe she doesn’t need a title Afterall. But Please Sarah, Reconsider.

  2. I like the overall vision of your article, but precisely how do you envision this “swamp draining” to take place? We don’t actually vote anyone out of office, except insofar as we vote someone else in. If you feel that the “clean” candidates aren’t running (e.g., Palin), then aren’t you really just left with the option of swapping out one swamp rat for another?

    Admittedly, I’m playing a bit of a devil’s advocate, but I’m also just genuinely interested in how other conservatives are thinking through these issues. Though I like Governor Palin, she was never on my “must run” list. While none of our current crop are exactly Ronald Reagan, I do think we have some good (if flawed) conservative options. How open are you to Cain? Gingrich? Bachmann? Santorum? or even Paul?

    • whitneyz

      Thanks for your comment. Personally,I don’t know whom I will support in the primary yet since Governor Palin isn’t running. Those who are running do have some strong points and significant flaws, IMO.

      Regarding the swamp analogy, you make an interesting point, and I know my analogy is 100% perfect. I don’t know that any particular candidate wouldn’t necessarily drain the swamp, but that the new information from Schweizer’s book and other sources will hopefully provide the impetus for voters to vote the alligators out and help drain the swamp of Congress that will help make for a cleaner Washington.

      There are three key things that lead me to support Governor Palin for president, if she would have run: 1) she is a clean governor reformer and she has the record to prove it 2) she is an unabashed conservative 3) she has executive experience. All of these, particularly number 1, separate her from the pack. I think she is the one who would most effectively cultivate a clean government embracing pure capitalism after the proverbial swamp has been drained. Others like Bachmann may echo this , but Governor Palin has the proven record to back it up. I think that a few candidates can latch onto this, but I think Governor Palin would most effectively implement this if she had run.

  3. John Hardman

    Now is the time for all good men (and women) to come to the aid of their Country. It is quite evident that the longer Congressmen and Senators hangout at the DC scene the more they absorb by Osmossis the permanent
    ambiance of corruption, cronism, insider trading and self serving monetary gains at the taxpayers expense.
    Let’s make this next election cycle an open season on all our leaders who have tarried far to long at the Fair. This can be easily be accomplished by reducing monatery and hidden perks to realistic dimensions; likelife time $$$
    and lifetime medical and Hospitalization

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