Power corrupts. Yesterday was not a good day for Democrats. Two of the party’s rising stars on opposite sides of the country now face corruption charges. In San Francisco, the FBI arrested state Sen. Leland Yee on corruption charges. He’s the third Democratic state senator to face criminal charges in California this year. Yee is a one-time San Francisco mayoral candidate who many considered destined for higher office. Yee now faces two felony charges of conspiring to import and traffic in firearms, and six corruption charges. Yee’s arrest was a particularly tough blow to the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party, as he had been a strong advocate for special rights for homosexuals. He consistently supported pro-homosexual causes and legislation, and received an award for his activism from the pro-homosexual group Equality California.
Strike two. Another major problem for the Democrats emerged in my hometown of Charlotte, N.C. The city’s Democratic mayor, Patrick Cannon, resigned from office on Wednesday following his arrest on public corruption charges. Cannon is charged with accepting more than $48,000 in bribes from FBI agents posing as real estate developers who hoped to do business with the city. Cannon himself has made a career of doing business with the city through contracts for parking garages he owns. Cannon faces 20 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines. Cannon’s troubles are also a distraction for the state’s Democratic Party, whose highest-profile elected official, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, is in a tough fight to retain her seat, a critical win if Democrats hope to maintain control of the Senate.
Asking God’s help. A group claiming to represent military chaplains have erected a billboard near the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., encouraging cadets to use the phrase “so help me God” in their oath of office. According to the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Freedom, “Last fall, cadets received new handbooks that had removed the phrase ‘So help me God’ from the cadet oath of office. After members of Congress intervened, the superintendent of the academy said that the omission was a printing error and that cadets have the option to say the words.” The group says it hopes the billboard will remind cadets they can use the phrase, which is “deeply rooted in American tradition.”
Strategy session. I’m in New Orleans today, where The Heritage Foundation is holding its annual Resource Bank. Speakers include Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Heritage has been holding this event, which provides an opportunity for conservative leaders to network and exchange ideas, since 1977. This year, more than 500 people representing 230 organizations are in attendance. According to former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, now president of Heritage, one of the key goals of this week’s event is to focus on “the precise language we need to make our messages and conservative policies resonate with the American people.” According to DeMint, “conservative ideas are not the problem, but sometimes the way we talk about them is.” That’s why among the speakers will be leaders from the media, including Hollywood filmmaker Jeremy Boreing and National Religious Broadcasters President Jerry Johnson.