Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Next Eleven Months Of Scandal

There will be an election in November for the entire House of Representatives and one third of the Senate. This mid-term election will turn on how corrupt both bodies have become under the leadership of the Republican party.

Republicans will run on a plank of immigration reform in order to set up the Democrats for being weak on border security. Quite possibly the House and Senate leadership will also state that they are for Lobbying Reform as well, headed up by the former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich playing the pied piper.

It will not work.

The greater issue will no doubt be the interminable conflict in the Iraq. As Iraq goes, so goes the country's mood. More deaths, more instability, and no end in sight with regards to cost may leave voters in an overall negative mood.

Add the corruption. Before too long, the phrase "K-Street Project" will be on the minds of millions of citizens. How bad could it get for the Republicans? It all depends on how many names Abramoff gives up, and in turn how much heat is placed on aides, press secretaries and legislators who were in the know. Tom DeLay had many favors to call-in on his associates and received many contributions to his PACs and charitable organizations. Names such as Rep. Bob Ney, Adam Kidan, David Safavian and Ralph Reed will be common for the first round of scandalous expositions, but there will be more.

What should be understood is that this is specifically not a bipartisan foible. It is a Republican bred colossus. With the 1994 election of Republicans to Congress came a notion that this control could be cemented, if not made very efficient for their ends. The K-Street Project was a way to encourage lobbying firms to only hire those men and women that the Republicans agreed with politically. As Elizabeth Drew noted in her article linked above:
The Republican purge of K Street is a more thorough, ruthless, vindictive, and effective attack on Democratic lobbyists and other Democrats who represent businesses and other organizations than anything Washington has seen before. The Republicans don't simply want to take care of their friends and former aides by getting them high-paying jobs: they want the lobbyists they helped place in these jobs and other corporate representatives to arrange lavish trips for themselves and their wives; to invite them to watch sports events from skyboxes; and, most important, to provide a steady flow of campaign contributions.

If the public is willing to learn more and the popular media continue to keep digging, there is more than enough corruption to be identified before November 2, 2006.

It is amazing to think that there was a time in American history when legislators deemed it beneath themselves to campaign for office. Elections are now paid for and legislation is the currency.

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