First Stone, etc.
I’m a Roman Catholic and about as conscious of my failings as a person can be. But anything can be carried to extremes. I think P. Kenneth Burns’s commentary on the guilty plea of Thomas Bromwell crosses the line from thoughtful to unserious.
But think about this before you start judging Bromwell for being one step from Enron, how many times have you wanted to play with the “big boys.” How many times have you looked up at the television and saw a charismatic figure who was the toast of the town or impressed a room and said I wanted to be that guy or that gal.
Bromwell had the gift to captivate an audience according to his friends. That charm, his punch in rhetoric made him one of the stars of Maryland politics. But he made the wrong choice because he felt that he did not have the tools to carry out his power. By tools, I mean money. Think about the millions of dollars that will be spent on next years election alone to influence out votes through advertising, only on a smaller scale.
Let’s be serious here. His wife had a no-show job. In exchange for legislation that allowed Comcast to keep some $76 million in overcharges to its customers (those would be fellow Marylanders) his sons got jobs.
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I come from a different culture. One that says you do not lie, cheat, or steal nor do you tolerate those who do. This is a bipartisan prohibition as far as I am concerned.
Whatever promise Mr. Bromwell had as a politician he forsook his duty and his oath to sell himself at auction… repeatedly. This selling of influence had direct and indirect costs for all of us. He deserves our scorn, not our sympathy.