Duke Cunningham, Traitor

Ok, I’m a bit prone to hyperbole, so check me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think traitor is too strong a word.

Congressman Admits Taking Bribes (AP)

SAN DIEGO — Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, an eight-term congressman and hotshot Vietnam War fighter jock, pleaded guilty to graft and tearfully resigned Monday, admitting he took $2.4 million in bribes mostly from defense contractors in exchange for government business and other favors.

“The truth is I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my office,” the 63-year-old Republican said at a news conference. “I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, most importantly, the trust of my friends and family.”

I don’t care what this guy did in the Vietnam war, this erases that. He should be boycotted in the original sense of the word: before he’s put behind bars, no one should even speak to him. When he walks into Starbucks, the manager should immediately ask him to leave. If he wants forgiveness, he can consult a priest, but the American people should never grant it.

This piece of garbage stole money from the American people and the Republican party should immediately speak up about it, loudly. When asked, those who worked with Cunningham should say that they thought he was a good man — but that they were wrong, he’s a disgrace.

I shan’t hold my breath, given that most of them live in glass houses.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Political Theory, US Politics, , , ,
Leopold Stotch
About Leopold Stotch
“Dr. Leopold Stotch” was the pseudonym of political science professor then at a major research university inside the beltway. He has a PhD in International Relations. He contributed 165 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and February 2006.


  1. slickdpdx says:

    I think “traitor” might be too much. How about ‘thief utterly lacking integrity’?

  2. I don’t think it is too strong a word.

    It is unfortunate that so few of these traitors actually get caught and punished.

    Too often they never get caught, or if they do, as was the case with McCain and the S&L scandal, they get away with it.

  3. Jack Rich says:

    Confession: my first reaction when I saw Cunningham was the same: he’s a traitor. To his district. To the American people. May he rot in jail for the maximum time allowed under law.

    Second reaction? Just a politico who got caught with his hands in the till. And a mighty big pair o’hands has he.

    Somebody tell me how this, also, is not theft: certain elected folks from Alaska who want to use hundreds of millions of our dollars to build a bridge to serve a few people. Not to mention Bobby (Porky) Byrd, of West-By-God-I’m-Glad-They’re-Not-Part-of-My-State Virginia.

    This list is long, and crosses party lines.

  4. john says:

    Give me a break, this is just another example of the republican party’s modus operandi. Not too shocking…claim a higher ground and steal all you can in the mean time.

  5. McGehee says:

    …just another example of the republican party’s modus operandi.

    Yes — when one of ours does wrong, we condemn him rather than defend him. I, a lifelong Republican, am very much with Leopold on this one. Cunningham is a reprehensible human being.

  6. Ronaldinho says:

    Listen, we need to give Cunningham a break. The liberal Al Franken has been rubbing this guy’s actions into the face of Republicans for weeks now. We need to stand united behind Cunningham or else the liberals will get a step up on us.

    Remember that Cunningham has been a strong supporter of the Patriot Act and killing the terrorists. He also supported the Iraq war. The guy is on the right side.

    People tend to forget that the Attorney who brought the charges against him, Carol Lam, is a well-known partisan hack. She has held leadership positions in the Gay Lesbian Transgender Bisexual Bar Association. There is absolutely no merit in the charges. They are simply partisan mudslinging of a degree never seen before in Washington.

    We should all be appalled that partisans like Lam have succeeded in manipulating the legal system against a true patriot, Duke Cunningham.

  7. John Burgess says:

    Cunningham acted badly and deserves the punishment that’s coming his way.

    I think that instead of “boycott,” the word you’re looking for is “shun.” That’s fine. Shun him, left and right, up and down.

    I do think that unless it can be shown that his crimes led to a definite weaking of national security, though, or that sub-standard goods put troops in excessive danger, that “traitor” is too strong a word. Lots of people steal from the US gov’t (‘cuz that’s where the money is, of course). These include tax dodgers, contractors who overcharge, even people who fraudulently provide ID cards or visas. They are crooks and criminals, malfeasors and thieves. “Traitor” requires a much higher (lower) standard.

  8. mlgsac says:

    I’m saddened. I volunteered for Duke Cunningham in his first run for Congress when I lived in San Diego. He was very well regarded by all who knew and met him and was a very personable guy to be around. Its just tragic what the love of money will do to otherwise good people.

  9. Richard Gardner says:

    I do not condone in any way what Cunningham did, but at least he had the guts to say he was guilty. That is indeed rare.

    And case closed – one corrupt Republican Congressman does not mean all (nor most) Republicans are corrupt (nor vice versa), but I predict we’ll be seeing quite a bit of that sentiment soon. That is a leap of logic (just like Democrats don’t all have male hookers living with them – Barney Frank years ago, for which he was censured).

  10. downradio says:

    Ronaldinho, you are an idiot. He confessed for god’s (notice no cap on “g”) sake!! Would an innocent man do that??? Stop watching Fox News and join the real world.

  11. Chris Meihass says:

    Duke Cunningham is an AMERICAN HERO…NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. hE PUT HIS LIFE ON THE LINE FOR THE USA MANY TIMES OVER….He got caught up in celebrity and ‘inside beltway’ b.s….He **ADMITS IT*** and stands ready to take the HEAT for it…just like when he faced MIGS in Combat…He isn’t running for the tall grass, and he squarely fully admits his faults (very much UNLIKE a former disgraced and impeached exPresident we all would like to forget)…Duke was and IS and will remain an AMERICAN HERO…You lefties can bite my shorts….

  12. R. Allan says:

    Treason is the only crime defined in the Constitution and you haven’t even come close to hitting the mark.

    Without getting the exact quote, it’s along the lines of waging war against the US (by a US Citizen) or aiding/abetting our enemies. Bribery doesn’t come close. You want treason – find out who approved selling US guidance systems to the Chinese in the 1990s.

    I’ll grant one thing to Cunningham – he admitted it and resigned. If Clinton had done that, we would have had a far better country. Name anyone on the left that didn’t go out kicking and screaming, dragging their heels to the end.

  13. john kubb says:

    i’ve watched many specials on duke cunningham the famed war ace of vietnam, hard to believe he’s done this, what a disgrace he is, and he knows it……………no way to sugar coat this actions

  14. Herb says:

    The whole of Congress needs to be investigated and charges made. The entire lot, House of Reps and the Senate, have been and remain corupt for years. Cunningham got caught and that is that. For the “Trator” charge, every damn one of them are “Trators” to the American people for not doing their jobs that they were paid to do. They waste more money and satisfy their lust for “Pork Projects” that is as bad as what Cunningham did. Has anyone ever seen a Senator or Congressman go bankrupt?

    But, don’t put all the balme on Congress, This whole thing with corruption starts with the voters who put them in office and stoop to taking payoffs at the polls by the very crooks who take the bribes. Our entire political system is, has been, and remains corrupt and we sit on our dead asses and let it happen.

    And, don’t forget the MSM for offering every excuse and reason for their favorite Senator and Congressman who subscribes to the corruption they like to admire and make excuses for.

  15. Kyle says:

    John, this conduct is not restricted to select political parties. Wake Up!
    Ronanldinho, I do not advocate anything that makes me (or Republicans) more like Al Franken. Bad comment. Bottom line, as voters and American citizens, we demands our elected leaders to conduct themselves appropriately and professionally, and when they don’t we hold them accountable. Mr. Cunningham is an outstanding pilot and we thank him for his military service but that does not exonerate him for his actions. He admitted it and should face the consequences.

  16. Barry says:

    “Yes—when one of ours does wrong, we condemn him rather than defend him. I, a lifelong Republican, am very much with Leopold on this one. Cunningham is a reprehensible human being.”

    Posted by McGehee

    Only after he’s convicted.

  17. Oscar says:

    Chris, I think the flag waving is late. That was 35 years ago. Rep Cunningham didn’t have any MIG’s chasing him to accept the money, the Rolls, the Louis XIV commode and a Yacht. He abused is position simply and should go to prison for it

  18. Mike James says:

    If you mean traitor to his party, I’m with you, and the rest had better heed K-Lo’s call to “get clean”.

    If you mean traitor to his country, “lighten up, Francis”. I’m not sure how much, or how often, you’ve laid your smooth pink butt on the line for your country, but I’m certain how many Navy Crosses I’ve got–nada, zip, zilch, zero. Thus, even in his disgrace, I can only summon up a certain aggrieved circumspection. I’m not happy with this, but grownups can weigh things in the balance, you know.

    None of which makes it any easier to deal with the john’s or Barry’s of the world, I realize. The Detestable Party just won’t police their own, Senator Schumer’s staff’s probable felonies in the matter of Micheal Steele’s credit report being only one example.

  19. TM Lutas says:

    Traitor? No. If this is the standard by which treason is to be judged, the prisons would be full of traitors. The man did wrong, he should go to jail for it, and the most admirable thing about it is that he’s declared that he’s going to dedicate the rest of his life to wiping out the stain.

    Good luck with that as it’s long odds he’ll make it.

  20. Logan Runn says:

    Ronaldinho, good show!! Don’t let that confession of guilt throw you off your game! When will these dirty liberals stop making our virtuous Republican pols confess to crimes they never committed? Furthermore, the liberal polls are all wrong, Bush has 99% approval, just like Castro

    God bless our Party state, AMEN

  21. VM says:

    For years politicians, professional and armchair, have had the effect on spoken language as to simply redefine the language at will. We have French Heads of State claiming that massive organized fire-bombings are not riots, but Civil Unrest, while American Presidents have claimed that “is” isn’t “is”… depending.
    We are also told that “Speech” means “burning”, so long as it’s a flag being burned. Meanwhile “Citizen” (as in … right of citizens to bear arms) does not mean “citizen”.
    So now the word “traitor” rears its ugly head. Treason is a despicable act, rightly punishable with death. Treason is a violation of trust by means of collaboration with the enemy during a declared war. The effects of treason include the deaths of Americans.
    Are all despicable acts “treason”? Obviously not. Someone speeding along in their SUV, breaking the speed limit and ergo burning gas at high rate, is supposedly helping al Qaida (which supposedly profits from each gallon of gas we use… so says Ariel Huffington and the ELF). Yet the act of breaking the speed limit in an SUV is not treason. Obviously.
    Is someone who hits and kills a Marine on a bicycle treasonous? Not only has their irresponsible driving ended a human life, but they have harmed our war effort. Still, even this heinous life-ending act is not treason. Not even close.
    Is Randy Cunningham a traitor? The answer is clearly in the negative. His crimes have names other than “treason”, and punishment will suit those crimes. In fact the charge of Treason is so far off-target that it appears to be an instance of “language redefinition” I previously associated with politicians.