With Americans stressing about the economy, politicians at every level are either skimping on the usual luxuries that come with elected office, or pillorying their rivals for failing to do so. But mostly, they're trying to do both.
The Obama administration, which staged a bargain basement inauguration, has come dangerously close to creating a lynch mob in its outrage over the bonuses handed out by taxpayer-rescued AIG. Congressional Republicans have been trying to out-outrage Obama and pin the blame on the White House -- or at least congressional Democrats, a claim that has a bit of merit, doesn't it Senator Dodd?
At the state level, the Democrats have been pounding their Republican adversaries for spending tax money frivolously. There was the scandal over Gov. Charlie Crist's European trade mission. Then they harrassed Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp for his own jetsetting ways, until the poor schmuck had to reimburse the state. And this week the Dems are taunting Attorney General Bill McCollum for spending $550 on make-up, as well as $2 million on public service commercials that looked a lot like campaign ads.
Local pols have gotten into the act, too. Nixing the wine and cheese, making due with old office furniture -- these are symbolic acts, akin to flipping a penny into a fountain, and it's clearly an outgrowth of the populist fervor that's taken hold. But it's still kind of refreshing, don't you think?