Menendez's corruption trial brings out the Dems' arrogance of power
A federal judge has smacked down Democratic senator Bob Menendez's bid to move his corruption trial dates around his Senate schedule, noting that the very request was likely a bid to impress the jury with how important he was.
Obviously, the answer to that little "don't you know who I am?" bid was no.
This demonstrates the sort of arrogance of power the judicial system and voters are looking at as the New Jersey Democrat seeks to maintain his political power even while facing corruption charges. He expects a judge to alter his appointments, juries to break up their schedules or be sequestered as he goes off to vote, and sheriffs to get overtime for excessive downtime, all because he is so important, so special. In this case, he's been accused of bribery, taking cash and campaign gifts from a Florida doctor who was scamming the Medicare system and expected Menendez to be his "protection." He even had Harry Reid plead his case to the Obama White House to make the charges go away. It didn't succeed.
With Reid out of the picture, Menendez is now trying to muscle a judge into allowing him to continue to wield his political power as freely as he always has, and never mind the court dates. In this case, it's astonishing as a power move, given that Menendez looks pretty guilty of this one and will probably be packed off to prison by the trial's end.
Can you imagine Alaska Republican Ted Stevens, who was also accused of corruption but found innocent, trying to pull such a maneuver? He never did.
And that brings up why Menendez might be so desperate to maintain his political power. Menendez in the dock means he will miss key Senate votes, and the Democrats may lose their veto power on major issues. It means tax reform might pass, Obamacare may yet get its stake through the heart, and illegal aliens may finally have to obey immigration laws. The Republicans' Senate majority might actually mean something, assuming John McCain isn't able to throw a spanner into the works.
Elizabeth Warren, when asked about the Menendez issue, found herself alarmed at the prospect after she was thrown off guard by a town hall questioner. So you can bet the talking points are being written up as I write this to frame the issue as judicial dirty tricks. That's ironic. The only reason Menendez found himself in the dock at all was that he opposed the Obama administration on a key measure and White House payback was a...beach. They sicced the Justice Department onto the longtime corrupt senator in retaliation – which may mean that much of the Obama legacy can be erased.
All the same, this is about arrogance of power, not railroading. Stevens was the one who was railroaded because he was found to be innocent but still lost his Senate seat. Menendez simply retains his entitlement mentality. He and his fellow Democrats are convinced they should be able to rule under any circumstances. A federal judge reminded him otherwise.