By Rick Saunders
Well, boys and girls and all you committed Obots across the land, how did you like the news today? What news, you say? Why, the news about the latest peccadillo committed by the Democrats’ Numero Dos in the Senate, Richard “Dick” (to his friends) Durbin. What peccadillo, you ask? Why, getting away with something disturbingly close to that for which Martha Stewart did time in a soft slammer a few years ago.
Oh, that’s right . . . silly me: if it isn’t reported in Pravda on the Hudson, it didn’t happen. Speaking of which, if someone were to look at what the Old Grey Lady has on the Durbin issue one finds only an archive story of Durbin’s political career and a photo of the Senate Whip — but not a word about how, as reported in the Chicago Sun-Times today, as U.S. stock markets began their plunge last September, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat sold more than $115,000 worth of stocks and mutual-fund shares and used much of the money to invest in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Here’s what: as reported by Glenn Thrush at Politico, Durbin ditched stock valued at nearly $43,000 on Sept. 19, 2008 — one day after then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told senators that the U.S. economy was on the brink of collapse and urged congressional leaders–in a closed meeting, no less–to craft legislation to help financially troubled banks.
Durbin’s response, through a surrogate, of course, was that it was mere coincidence and there was absolutely no linkage between the quasi-”insider information” Durbin received the day before he sought to cut his losses. Durbin’s spokesman assured everyone that the senator’s withdrawals from the market began before the meeting with Paulson and Bernanke and that the senator and his wife were only doing the following morning “what millions of other Americans were doing at the time”: “recalibrating their investments to find a measure of safety.” Parenthetically, there is no truth to the rumor that Durbin rented a DVD of “Wall Street” on the evening of September 18, 2009. For a guy in New York City, Gordon Gekko looks as though he could have originally been from Chicago.
Ah, yes, the “recalibration” defense. Too bad Martha Stewart wasn’t a U.S. Senator back in 2001.
Remain calm, Obots: there will be no investigation, no mainstream media editorials or suggestions of impropriety or other irregularities associated with Durbin’s actions. And if Republican senators are shown to have taken similar actions, rest assured as well that when the media’s stories break on them, Durbin’s situation will be distinguished. He is, after all, a Democrat, isn’t he? Aren’t all leadership Democrats immune from criticism?
The “recalibration” defense is a great one, because it has that “one size fits all” patina that politicians caught in flagrante delicto always fall back upon. “Hey,” they inevitably say, “I was just doing what everyone else is doing.”
In Durbin’s case, that would be true but for the pesky fact that not everyone else who sold stock on the morning of September 19, 2008 had just been briefed in closed-door session by the Secretary of the Treasury and Chairman of the Fed and told that the economy, and thus the stock market, was getting ready to tank.
Durbin’s recalibration defense is sought to be fortified by the explanation that his turn-around investment in Warren Buffet’s Berkshire-Hathaway stock “didn’t work out that well anyway,” an excuse which completely misses the point. Durbin dumped roughly the same amount of stock as did Martha Stewart one day after learning “from the horse’s mouth” that bad things were about to happen. Stewart got slammed; Durbin will not.
Ahh, the differing standards between Democrats and Republicans. Now that’s “change” Dick Durbin can believe in.
Rick Saunders is a freelance writer who splits his time between endeavors in southern California and the American southwest. He began writing for America’s Right in December 2008.