Let's talk about Enron.

I feel like the late Clara Peller hawking burgers for Wendy's... Where's the beef?

The innuendo in this story is that it's a Bush scandal because Enron head honcho Ken Lay was a heavy campaign contributor and Bush family buddy.

It may turn out that Lay is found to be a crook. That is a harsh word, but these are harsh times if you're an Enron employee or stockholder. His buddy Bush may prosecute him alleging various crimes, such as hiding debt, overstating revenue, insider trading and an overall pattern of behavior that might well be called 'looting a publicly held company.'

Remember Michael Milkin. Remember Charles Keating? They did time, and Lay may also.

Now, is this a George W. Bush problem? Well… it's embarrassing to have friends who go to jail. You sort of feel bad for them, and wish they hadn't become criminals. But does knowing a crook make you a crook?

That's what the Democrats would like you to believe. They are still smarting about getting kicked around by people wearing Clinton boots, and they'd like to put on Bush boots and do some kicking of their own.

If the president accepted money from Lay and said: "Kenny boy... you go ahead and rob that company blind, and when I'm president I'll help you out," then this would be a Bush scandal.

But you can't make a scandal of the fact that Bush friends — the Enron bunch — screwed a lot of people over.What's that got to do with the president?

Should Bush have warned the public when his people found out Enron was in trouble? Well, if Enron was trying to get out of trouble, arrange new financing, or a merger… that would have killed any chance of a last-minute rescue.

And if Bush had bailed Enron out, the Democrats would have been hollering about 'corporate old-boyism'.

Here's the bad news: Sometimes, high-flying companies are nothing more than a glittering lie where a bunch of crooks enrich themselves behind the scenes while they take drooling investors for a ride.

Mark Twain once said that the definition of a gold mine is a hole in the ground with a liar on top.

That's what some of these companies are. If possible, some folks will go to jail. Other folks may get some of their money back. But this is a Ken Lay story, and — at this point — not a George W. Bush story.

That's My Word.

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