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Editorial: The fast, the furious and the arrogant

Monday, July 28, 2014
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Give all the reports of political corruption and law-breaking in Albany and Washington these days, it's kind of hard to work up a healthy lather over a motorist's video showing Congressman Paul Tonko speeding on the Thruway.

But when you think about it, the congressman's blatant ignorance of a law that all of us are expected to follow just reflects the arrogance and entitlement that empowers our politicians to delve into more nefarious activities.

In case you missed it, a motorist spotted Tonko's black Lincoln, license plate, "U.S. Congress District 20," consistently driving well above the 65 mph speed limit on Interstate 90, routinely topping 90, weaving a little bit during lane changes and occasionally bumping the rumble strips on the shoulder.

It's not exactly The Fast and the Furious — either the movie or the Justice Department's Mexican gun-running scandal.

Some would say, and some have in response to the video posted on YouTube, that it's much ado about nothing.

That the congressman was probably late for an appointment, he didn't hit anybody, he wasn't drunk and there weren't many cars on the highway. Some commenters were more critical of the videographer for driving recklessly to keep up with Tonko, an absurd "shoot the messenger" deflection of where the true blame lies.

But when a public official feels like he can exceed the speed limit by 50 percent and probably not worry about getting a ticket, it explains a bigger problem of why so many politicians continue to break the law or flout ethics rules with such astounding regularity.

It's not Tonko's driving habits we should necessarily be worried about.

It's the culture in politics that makes him believe the rules that apply to everyone else don't apply to him.

 
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