Armstrong Williams, a black conservative commentator, received $241,000 to promote George Bush's No Child Left Behind initiative.
Read the story in the Wasington Post first.
And now for my take on the story:
(1) The No Child Left Behind Act is garbage legislation. Education has traditionally been left to the states, but now it's being federalized to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. George Bush should be ashamed of himself for being a bigger liberal than Democrats. No wonder why we're running such a huge budget deficit!
(2) There's a whole army of lobbyists in Washington whose opinions can be bought for money. So I don't see the big deal if Armstrong wants his share. If someone wanted to pay me $241,000 to promote some cause, I'd take the money. There's nothing wrong with making money. It should be pointed out that Williams wasn't paid directly by the government, but by a private PR firm.
Of course, it's understandable if people no longer respect Mr. Williams' opinions. And I understand why he was fired from his newpaper columnist job, because his employer thought he was being paid to write his own opinions, but it turns out he was being paid to write George Bush's opinions.
(3) It's a shame that a conservative black guy has to be the focus of public anger. I don't know exactly what Williams stands for, but if he's labeled conservative then he can't be all bad.
(4) I am outraged that taxpayers were footing the bill. If you read the article, you will note that at least $700,000 of public money was used to pay a public relations firm to promote legislation that right thinking Americans don't agree with. I say this is clearly an abuse of public funds. This is the real scandal, and I hope that people in the Bush administration get fired.