POLITICS: ENRON AND WHITEWATER

I thought this was a particularly good discussion of the unfolding Enron scandal, well worth keeping in mind as the various players stake out their positions on the front page for the next six or eight months. It begins as a comparison of Whitewater and Enron at the same stage:

“I would argue that Enron is neither worse nor better than Whitewater at a similar stage of development. It’s the same. A year into Clinton’s first term, Republicans were pursuing a variety of Whitewater investigations as aggressively as they possibly could, despite the lack of any compelling evidence of wrongdoing by administration officials. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, who headed the most prominent investigation, hopped from hypothesis to hypothesis without ever proving one of them. Republicans pushed Whitewater as hard as they did because they recognized a big political opportunity. Even short of proof, they saw a chance to put a Democratic administration on the defensive, to illustrate their view of the Clintons as sleazy and secretive, and perhaps to reap some unanticipated windfall. They succeeded in these goals beyond their wildest expectations.

“With no stronger evidence of any government official doing anything crooked, most Democrats now view Enron in precisely the same light: as a heaven-sent opportunity to embarrass the Bush administration, to illustrate the proposition that Bush is in bed with corporations (especially in the field of energy), and maybe get lucky in some way they can’t predict.”