Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Detroit's ex-Mayor Goes to Jail

The New York Times reports on the ex-mayor of Detroit beginning his prison term.

Kwame M. Kilpatrick traveled around town in a black Cadillac Escalade, relished his ever-present entourage of admirers and surrounded himself with as many as 21 bodyguards. But for the next four months, Mr. Kilpatrick must spend 23 hours of each day alone, in Cell 14J-4 of the Wayne County Jail.

That doesn't sound like much of a prison sentence to me, but he already served time, which I imagine was taken into consideration.

Mr. Kilpatrick was jailed more than nine months after the eruption of a scandal that heaped more misery and embarrassment upon this economically depressed city and state. Text messages published by The Detroit Free Press showed that Mr. Kilpatrick had lied under oath when he denied having an extramarital affair with his chief of staff, Christine Beatty, and that he conspired with Ms. Beatty to fire police officers who might have revealed their indiscretions. The city settled a lawsuit by those officers for $8.4 million.

Is that what it's all about? He'd had an affair and lied about it? Didn't we learn anything from the Clinton / Lewinsky affair? Doesn't the whole country hang its communal head in shame that we actually impeached a President for nonsense like that, while serious issues abounded.

I think what happens is, when people in power come after you, for whatever reason, they often attack on the moral issue of sexual conduct. The fact that these two men, the former President and the ex-mayor of Detroit were made to answer questions under oath about their sex lives is ludicrous. In Europe, I can tell you, America is a laughing stock over this.

The differences in these two cases are much more glaring than any similarities, however. The ex-mayor, at least according to that NY Times description in their first paragraph, was flaunting his power and abusing his office. Clinton, I don't know, I guess he was just being a Democrat during a time of rising conservative fervor.

Here's the CNN take on it.

What's your opinion? I realize the readers of this blog know a lot more than I do about these things, so I'm interested in your ideas.


  1. it wasn't all about him just having an affair, Mike. there's been a lot of plea bargaining going on, and a good deal of accusations which basically all of Michigan knows he's guilty of but didn't get officially proven in court. even as far as his affair goes, you'll note he abused his position as mayor to try and cover it up --- a far worse crime than just lying about being an adulterer.

    i don't live in Detroit, so i can't say whether he's been all bad or not; probably not. but overall, the way he's used and abused his position has been a massive embarrassment to both Detroit and all Michigan. it got to the point where the Governor had to take steps to remove him from his office because he was blocking attempts by the city council to do so, long after he'd disgraced himself past the point where the public scandal alone would have justified him resigning.

    ...there was one point during the trial when he crossed the border into Canada to discuss some issue or other with Windsor city officials. not much of a deal, pretty much part of what a mayor of Detroit should be doing in his duties, except that he was under court orders not to leave the county at the time. this, too, happened long after he should have learned not to be that sloppy in his official conduct; it was just one more of the things that got the judge to call him "arrogant and defiant", i'm sure. he just kept piling on stupid things like that, without ever bothering to explain the previous one adequately before committing the next. annoy a court that way for long enough and the judge'll throw you in jail for that alone, and that seems to have happened to Kilpatrick.

  2. Nomen, Thanks for the details. I suspected as much about him, but don't you think something's wrong with placing the public spotlight on his sex life? Don't you think the finger pointers are often as guilty of this kind of thing? Isn't it the country's weird obsession with morals that put him in a position to try to cover it up in the first place?