Scandal Simplicity, Not Severity, Most Important
Steven Taylor, noting the current argument by Democrats that the William Jefferson bribery scandal and others affecting that party pale in comparison to the DeLay and Abramoff scandals plaguing the Republicans, argues that this is not the most important thing from the voters’ perspective.
The thing that the Jefferson scandal has that the others don’t is videotape of a Congressman (allegedly) on the take. Further, the salacious factoid of $90,000 in cash hidden in the Congressman’s freezer screams “guilty.”
[T]he depth of the scandal isn’t the issue in terms of political impact—like most things in electoral politics the relevant issue is how easily understood it is by the electorate. Influence peddling by Jack Abramoff on behalf of Indian casino interests is difficult to understand—taking bribes on videotape is extremely easy to understand.
That’s likely quite right. It’s a perfect correlatory to Taylor’s observation that it’s the sound bytes played on the news the next day, not the delivery of the speech itself, that matter.
Fair or not, people think it’s the system that’s corrupt, not the handful of individual politicians involved or either party.