Unclear on the concept

Yes, we all know that the basic BushCo operating principle is “lie, cheat, and steal.”
But Claude Allen seems to have understood the word “steal” in an excessively literal sense.

Poor Claude Allen!

Everyone wondered why he suddenly resigned last month as the White House Domestic Policy Adviser. Since he was one of the Christian Right point men inside the Bush Administration, a fanatic about abstinence-only sex education, and had been a famous gay-baiter as an aide to Jesse Helms &#8212 his remarks about “queers” (which he testified under oath meant “odd people,” not gays) kept him from being confirmed for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals when Bush nominated him &#8212 some Blue Bloggers jumped to the obvious but wrong conclusion.

No, it turns out Allen’s problem was financial, not sexual. He made a practice of “refund fraud,” a fancy form of shoplifting in which the thief buys an item, takes it out of the store, returns to the store with the receipt, picks up an identical item from the shelf, and takes it to the return counter with the original receipt. Presto! He still has the item, but gets a full refund of whatever he paid for it. Allen’s score over several months amounted to more than $5000, and the cops had been on to him since the fall.

Of course, it’s easy to see how Allen could have been confused. When his colleagues in the White House explained to him the basic BushCo operating procedure &#8212 lie, cheat, and steal &#8212 he interpreted “steal” literally, like a good fundamentalist.

Hat tip: Ghost in the Machine.

Footnote Yes, Allen was one of the upstanding Bush judicial nominees denied an up-or-down vote by Democratic Senators influenced by “left-wing interest groups,” according to professional whiners like Boyden Gray.


Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com