In the statement, he refers to recent scandals in China, a desire to spend more time with his family, a reference to Sibel Edmonds, and a curious reference to the 'genius of the American system.'
Today I am announcing my retirement from Congress, effective immediately.
When Karl Rove resigned earlier this week, he indicated that he wanted to spend more time with his family, and for that he was widely mocked - but in my case it is true. I really do want to spend more time with my family. When I say "more time with my family" I don't mean that I want to spend more hours per day with my wife, I mean that I want to spend as many years as possible with them.
Last month, Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of China's FDA was executed after it was acknowledged that he received $500,000 in bribes for approving some products which killed a number of people. Not surprisingly, this led to some bad press for China, harming the Chinese brand.
Gan Yisheng, spokesman for the Chinese Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), said:"Different countries have different circumstances and have different cultural backgrounds and views on the death penalty. They also have different legal regulations, which is very natural."
Gan is correct, and I'm very grateful that our rules are different here in America. You see, I really do want to spend more time with my family, and everyone else.
Of course, my situation is entirely different to the situation Zheng Xiaoyu found himself in - but it got me thinking nonetheless, and I decided that I no longer want to be a Member of Congress.
What are the differences between my case and his?
For starters, there's the exchange rate. $500,000 is worth way more in China than it is here in the US. Gan himself referred to "huge amounts of bribes." I don't think that anyone here in the US would really consider $500k 'huge.'
Another difference is that Zheng was head of the FDA in China - so when he gave his stamp of approval for these products, Chinese citizens thought that they could rely on that authority. In my case, the $500,000 came from heroin suppliers, and you'd have to be stupid to think that any heroin comes with quality approval from the US Government. All heroin users know that we don't control those final links in the value chain, and the 'gear' can be cut up with all sorts of dangerous additives by the street dealers out to make a quick buck. That's why we have such high penalties for those guys in the court system.
Another difference between my situation and Zheng's is that he was apparently freelancing - and that left him vulnerable. In my case, the payments came with the full knowledge, and probably at the behest of, the Pentagon, the State Department and the FBI, and that gives you a lot of institutional cover, because you are operating within the system. I know that at least three of my colleagues in Congress are also beneficiaries of the exact same scheme, and God knows how many other schemes are being conducted by the same people. Safety in numbers and all that.
I don't want to harp on too much about poor Zheng, but another important lesson I learnt was that it is best to be co-opted early on. In my case, I got promoted because I had been bribed early. If you wait till you are the head of an agency or something, you really are a sitting duck. How do you think I went from wrestling coach to Congressman (R-Nobody) to Speaker? How do you think that happened? I started taking bribes years ago - 96? 97? I don't even remember. Clinton tried to appoint a Special Prosecutor in 1999, but then we hit him with the impeachment! Special propos to my main man John Ashcroft for shutting down the investigation in 2001 when that silly woman - what's her name? Cybil Edmunds or something - started making too much noise.
Zheng also apparently forgot, or couldn't organize an effective one-party state. We've got it so good here. I know there were some who thought that Henry Waxman would investigate. Ha! Little do they know!
And then there is the media. Zheng maybe thought he could rely on the media to keep everything hush-hush - but apparently the Chinese media is tenacious. Again, we have it pretty good here. There was a moment when that foreign English journalist David Rose threaten to break through with that darned Vanity Fair article, but we scared Vanity Fair's lawyers into whitewashing the whole affair, and not a single other journalist dared repeat his claims. Ha! Not even any of the bloggers would touch it! We didn't sue Vanity Fair of course.
I guess it's ironic, in a way. You'd think that they'd be better at all this stuff in China than they are here in the US. I guess that's the genius of our system here.
Still, despite all these differences between my case and Zheng's, as a Christian I couldn't help but think "But for the Grace of God..." and therefore I've decided to resign.
Everybody Knows clip: