Vincent “Buddy”‘ Cianci, the legendary, popular, and corrupt former mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, was released from prison today, after serving time for a 2002 racketeering conviction.
Like Washington, D.C. has Marion Barry, Providence had Buddy — a larger-than-life politician who remained popular even in the face of major corruption allegations.
A sign of the decline of American democracy? Hardly. I prefer to think of the benign toleration of guys like this as an unusal manifestation of Americans’ healthy suspicion of politics: If politics is something to be regarded with suspicion, then it naturally will attract cheats and rogues to its practice. Welcome back, Buddy!