A Righteous Rant
A lot of people have noted the legal troubles of Randy "Duke" Cunningham, the member of Congress for the 50th
district of California. A number have expressed some sympathy for him and commended him for standing up, pleading guilty, and resigning from Congress.
I was living in San Diego when he first ran for Congress and his campaign was " I'm an ace, so you have to vote for me." Over the years he has used his status as a combat veteran to attack anyone who disagreed with him, and to justify his pronouncements on all things military.
He sat on committees and subcommittees important to the defense of this country and he sold his influence to the highest bidder. He was so blatant about it that pleading guilty was his only option. He left behind a paper trail of deeds and registrations for real estate and a Rolls Royce that are hard to hide.
I'm not sure about the status of his military retirement after being convicted of a felony, but I feel certain that it will have no effect on either his Social Security benefits or his Congressional pension. While he has lost $2.5 million in ill-gotten gains, neither he nor his family will be living in poverty.
I have no sympathy for Cunningham, and wouldn't object to his being staked out on a fire ant bed for what he did. He directed contracts to the people who paid him. He didn't care about the quality of the products and services that those people provided to the military, all he cared about was buying a mansion, a Rolls, living on a yacht, and throwing a big party for his daughter's graduation.
If some enlisted-type dies as a result of the bad equipment that the friends of "Duke" sold to the Pentagon, that's not as important as driving a flashy car and having a Rancho Santa Fe address.
I expect this kind of crap from the Tom DeLays and Dick Cheneys who avoided the military, but Cunningham was a combat veteran and should have known how important those contracts were for the troops.
As an aside, if he had really cared about his constituents he could have resigned earlier so the election to fill his seat could have been held at the same time as the special election for the San Diego mayor and Arnold's initiatives. He was no less guilty in October than he is today.