The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Media too quick to connect Bush to Enron

In the game of politics and media, it’s fun to play “connect the dots.” It’s a lot like the game, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” but the stakes are higher and the risk greater.

Take me for example. My cousin Bob Ziegelbauer (D-Manitowoc) the state’s Assemblyman for the 25th District voted “no” on the Miller Park sales tax, though the legislature passed overwhelmingly. Miller Park is the home of the Brewers.

The Brewers were owned by Allan “Bud” Selig. Bud is now commissioner of baseball and it has been said that he wants to contract the Minnesota Twins because they don’t have a stadium like … Miller Park. So in today’s world I might be responsible for the collapse of the Twins for not telling Bob to fight harder against the sales tax.

Yeah right.

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In a roundabout way I’ve just laid out the groundwork for the media’s attack plan on the Bush Administration and what has now been called “Enrongate.”

There is no doubt that both Enron and its outside auditor Arthur Andersen did some of the most vile business practices since Michael Milkin was giving away junk bonds. Their conduct makes me as an aspiring businessman want to puke, pick up my Michael Fay special and take them all behind the woodshed for a little Singapore justice.

Yet, I wonder how the mainstream press is so willing to play a game of “guilt by association” between Ken Lay and his cronies, and the president. Then again, it’s better to ask how is this a political scandal when in fact it’s a major business one?

So far the only direct links between Enron and the president are that he was once the governor of Texas, Enron’s home state; and received over $700,000 in “soft money” contributions since 1994.

The winner so far of the “Jumping to Conclusions Because We Can Award” goes to the ultra-liberal magazine, The Nation.

They posted on their online edition a story about Enron putting down $100 million for naming rights for the new stadium of the Houston Astros in 1994 when Bush was managing partner of the team. Too bad Bush was managing partner of the Texas Rangers, and gave up control in late 1994 so he could avoid a conflict of interest as governor, and the stadium of the Rangers. The Ballpark at Arlington has no corporate sponsor.

As of this writing, The Nation has yet to apologize for the error and the Astros are pondering changing the name of Enron Field to a more willing and ethically pure corporate partner.

So now it seems that Enron can’t even put its name on anything?

This takes us to the next step of the Enron story. The return of Campaign Finance Reform as the discharge petition has finally gotten the 218 needed signatures to get the bill on the House floor. Fine, let the “reformers” have their fun.

But in all honesty, McCain-Feingold and Shays-Meehan have good intentions, but will fail because of one simple fact: Crooked people will continue to find crooked ways to give crooked money to crooked politicians.

Yet, as in any story, there is that sub-plot that comes out of nowhere with the intention of throwing a wrench into the whole thing.

Henry Wazman (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Government Reform Committee is raising a stink over Commerce Secretary Don Evans and Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil for the sake of the employees and share holders who lost millions in the collapse. That might work, but then again, this isn’t the Soviet Union.

The sad truth of Enron’s demise is that companies fail in a capitalist economy. Mostly because they are run by executives who make mistakes and have bad judgment that end with a corporate giant going down in flames.

Sometimes, they even decide to raid the ship’s safe as they run for the lifeboats.

In the end, congress must do what’s right and amend 401(k) so that employees are better educated about what they are getting into and understand the risk of investment and asset allocation.

But, if regulation goes too far, Congress will make one of the greatest private pension plans available to working Americans impotent.

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Media too quick to connect Bush to Enron