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Enron Under the Big Top
February 12, 2002

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

The Dems in Congress are playing a one-note samba, and the name of the tune that's droning on and on is "Enron." Fortunately for the Bush administration, the politicos in the bandstand are not all that imaginative. In fact, they're making the worst of witnesses look downright sympathetic.

When Jeffery Skilling, former chief executive of Enron, appeared evasive and arrogant as he testified before a Senate committee, some of the more smug members of Congress managed to overshadow him.

These are the same people who are supposed to exercise oversight when it comes to waste and fraud in our agencies of government. We know what a great job they're doing in that regard, which is why it is so amazing to watch them display indignation over the apparent fraud and waste of their corporate target.

Many of these same congressional members actually stood in the way of reform of accounting procedures, reform that quite possibly could have prevented the kind of conflict of interest allegedly evident in the Arthur Andersen dealings.

Now it appears as if, like it or not, we're going to be forced to watch a looped performance of "The Amazing Enron Circus." Appearances by a few special guests do promise to provide a chuckle, though.

Fritz Hollings will paraphrase Bill Clinton's Lewinsky denial in a number of logic-defying ways.

Representatives Waxman and Dingle will attempt a high-wire act by using the GAO as a surrogate subpoena.

Liberal allies in Hollywood will refuse to be left out. FX and Artisan Television may just team up and treat the public to a surprise feature, "Enron, the Movie."

The Houston Astros, with the OK from a bankruptcy judge, will do a balancing act and rename their stadium.

Spokespeople from George Lucas' firm, Lucasfilm, will continue to grab the megaphone and try to dispel any notion that the firm permitted Enron to use its trademark names from "Star Wars."

Enron is in trouble because allegedly its accountants grossly exaggerated the financial health of the company.

But the Democrats had better start doing some polling. They just may find out that the public is not entertained by their attempts to mount a three-ring circus from a corporate, a financial and, for a lot of people, a personal tragedy.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

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