Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Ken Lay to be briefly harassed just in time for the elections

It is being widely reported (Reuters) that former Enron chair, Bush buddy and former big-time Republican campaign contributor Ken Lay has finally been indicted for involvement in the Enron debacle. (Recall, he previously claimed innocence by virtual of the fact that he was not aware of the illegal bookkeeping schanigans of his underlings since he spent most of his time playing golf.) I didn't have blog then, but I saw this coming. I predicted to my friends back in 2002 that Bush would wait for the months before the elections to indict Lay.

Recall the screams for Ken Lay's head in 2002 following the Enron bankrupcy. Nothing happened. Critics attributed this to massive amounts of money Ken Lay had given to the GOP. ("Ken Lay was a preacher's son. He understood the power of the collection box" one pundit quipped.)

Not exactly. It was obvious the Republicans would have to nail him, since most of the calls for Ken Lay's head were coming from conservative parts of Texas, which is Bush's base.

But they'd wait right before the Presidential elections to do it. This way, Bush would have rolled in most of the big campaign contributions already prior to the indictment, leaving them with the impression that the Bush White House really is for sale. And for the rest of the folks (and the aggrieved Republicans back in the Texas) it would play out well in the media in the months right before the elections: Bush's Attorney General indicts former massive campaign contributor.

And bringing the indictment down right before the election has one other major advantage. If Bush wins re-election, he can have his Attorney General start to go easy on the case after November.

I mean, when your Bush, it's hard to ignore screaming Texas Republicans, but at the same time you don't want to send the wrong signals to your parties' future big campaign contributors. Bush figures he'll still need them for the 2006 mid-term elections. And there's Jeb and the rest of the Bush dynasty to think about.