Claude Allen, the former domestic policy advisor for President Bush and former staffer for Jesse Helms, was arrested recently on charges of theft. He allegedly purchased items ranging from $2.50 to $525 and after placing them in his car, returned to the store with his receipt and picked another off the shelf to return and receive a refund.
Republicans would have a field day if any other man stole items in this way. No excuse would be good enough because being poor, hungry or having been raised in a crime-ridden public housing neighborhood simply isn't an excuse. Having an addiction, illness or being homeless or cold, isn't a good enough excuse either.
More on the flip side
Lately, though Republicans have found an excuse they like. It's called the important, busy man excuse and they've trotted it out for Scooter Libby and now it appears it's being used for Claude Allen. The stress of his important job just got to him. From The Charlotte Observer:
... a few(of his friends) are also offering theories about what may have happened to make their friend do things so out of character.
Their likeliest culprit: His pressure-cooker-of-a-job.
One former colleague said Allen typically headed to the White House at 4:30 a.m. and didn't get home until 11 p.m. or later.
"It's not that Claude was able to pull the wool over our eyes all these years," said former Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer, who talked to Allen on Thursday. "He got into a very stressful situation -- playing traffic cop on domestic issues for the White House. I'm just speculating, but all of this may have been a manifestation of just getting overwhelmed."
Stressed out, overwhelmed, pressure-cooker-of-a-job...... yeah right. Any other man who commited theft 25 different times would be considered a career criminal. Not Claude Allen. Claude Allen is special because he is an overwhelmed Republican.
Former colleagues from Allen's days with Helms continue to support him. From Tim Funk:
They birthed his career in the rough-and-tumble politics of North Carolina. They helped push him up a ladder that rose to the West Wing of the White House. And they beamed proudly over the years whenever Claude Allen was singled out as one of the GOP's few black conservative stars.
Now this coterie of N.C. Republicans close to former Sen. Jesse Helms -- "the Helms family," one member called it -- is rallying around Allen, 45, as the former domestic policy adviser to president Bush faces felony theft charges a month after leaving his high-profile post.
These same Helms family members are among those offering the stressed out, overwhelmed man excuse. I'm sure they can't fathom the stress a man or woman feels right before they are evicted or as they watch their family starve. I'm not saying that everyone who turns to crime has a background or problem which should illicit sympathy and understanding. However, if someone commits a non violent crime, I'm a whole lot more willing to feel sympathy if he was desperate, cold, hungry or suffering from addiction. I have no sympathy for someone who was just too busy to obey the law.