Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Michelle Malkin blasts Obama adviser David Axelrod for a conflict of interest in that he's advising Obama on health care at the same time the firm he founded and which currently employs his son is receiving money from a number of outfits to help promote Obama's health care initiative (I may be off a bit on the details of the recap, look to her post for the details). Malkin quotes (and presumably endorses) someone who summarizes the issue as: Axelrod "owns firm, man takes government job, man sells firm and firm owes man $2 million (if firm goes bust, man out $2 mil), firm lands multi-million dollar contracts from organizations doing business with the government on a top issue for the person man works for and man is out advocating for".

If true. deserving of criticism, it is a heck of a conflict of interest. Typical of Washington politicians, even among those (like Obama) who profess to be whiter than white when it comes to running 'the most ethical administration ever'.

And... isn't what Axelrod is now doing somewhat similar (okay, very similar) to former Vice President Cheney and his former employer, Halliburton? Cheney didn't own the firm but he cashed out big time to become Vice President and was to receive payments from Halliburton after he took office... while Halliburton landed multi-million (actually, I believe, multi-billion) contracts with the government for work in Iraq... which was certainly a top issue for the person (Bush) that Cheney went to work for.

I don't remember too many conservatives criticizing Cheney at the time; what little there was concerned more the appearance of a conflict rather than a real conflict. And while I believe Cheney gave up some of the deferred money due him, it sure did look bad at the time.

Anyway, my point is not to criticize Cheney but rather those who gave him a pass but are now up in arms over Axelrod. It would be nice if conservatives didn't have selective outrage. I expect the liberals to be hypocrites but I wish conservatives had a little more principle.

And no, the fact that conservatives didn't complain about Cheney doesn't mean it is okay for Axelrod.