Mehlman on Mehlman

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman has in the past taken a hard line against unethical shenanigans by public officials — which is why we were shocked to learn from Vanity Fair that he had assisted corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff in hatcheting a senior administration official, for the benefit of Abramoff’s clients.

Over at TPM, Josh asked readers to send in their favorite Mehlman specimens of bamboozlement. Here they are.

Mehlman has long been clear that people like him should be taken to task. From the “His Own Advice is His Best Advice” Category:

On public trust: “The public trust is more important than party, which is why the first solution to the problem is rooting out those who have done wrong without regard to party or ideology….Public service is a sacred trust, and we cannot allow it to be sullied by anyone . . . Democrat or Republican.”

On the evils of power: “One of the oldest lessons in history is that power corrupts….And if we are to learn from that particular lesson of history, then we must take a stand, right here, right now, against corruption.”

Agreed on all points. But when the hit piece on Sen. Harry Reid (R-NV) came down from the AP, Mehlman was the first to wag the finger:

“You can say, ‘I’m going to politically posture,’ or you can say, ‘This is about people who did wrong things and are being held accountable,'” he said.

“But it’s hypocritical to say, ‘This is a Republican scandal,’ when the things Republicans are accused of doing are also things (Reid) apparently did,” Mehlman continued.

“I’m not going to play guilt-by-association, but if you do play guilt-by-association, the fact that you’re more guilty than the people you’re accusing is going to come back to haunt you.”

Yes, indeed. Finally, there’s this finest of specimens of Abramoff ignorance from Mehlman, who shared a Sabbath dinner with him:

“Abramoff is someone who we don’t know a lot about. . . We know what we read in the paper.” Or in magazines like Vanity Fair, presumably.