Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ney, DeLay, and Doolittle
Some years ago, I think during the last campaign finance debate, I remember reading how these three names, all leading opponents of reform, seemed so perfectly to sum up the Republican position on pretty much and all positive government action. (Disclaimer: this might have been Josh Marshall's joke, more pithily expressed.) Turns out, though, that in a development Dickens might have scripted, they're all potential targets of the Jack Abramoff investigation. Ney, who's clearly a dead duck, and multiple-trial man DeLay you knew about, but also notes the involvement of Rep. Doolittle (among many others):

Recent reports suggest a long lineup of members of Congress and family who still face scrutiny, including DeLay and his wife, Christine, Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., and Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif., and his wife, Julie. Dozens more lawmakers, including leaders from both parties, supported the initiatives of Abramoff's clients and were later rewarded by political contributions. All but six of the top 20 recipients of campaign contributions from Abramoff's clients are Republican.

Of course, this last factoid will be spun differently in publications and by pundits less sympathetic to progressive politics. But I actually believe the bipartisan nature of the scandal, however limited or broad it might be, can work to Democrats' advantage. How better to differentiate themselves from the ruling Republicans than by showing a willingness to root out corruption and punish the guilty whatever the letter after their title and name? Democratic partisans commonly bewail the seeming mystery of why the public generally agrees with them on policy issues, but puts their opponents in office: one reason, I think, is that they don't sufficiently differentiate themselves. Already, polling seems to show that the public doesn't see corruption as a Republican problem; they see it as a government problem. Prominently hanging a couple dirty Democrats out to dry--regardless of how good they might be at fundraising--could really help here in terms of which party deserves to be trusted with power.


Happy new year to all. You'll notice some new links and sidebar organization here, the first of several changes to the site. It's now possible to link to single posts, in case you want to forward anything of value I stumble onto here, and in terms of content/subject matter I expect my new work role as a contractor/freelancer will influence what we're talking about. Hopefully these changes will be for the best.

One change I'm looking forward to is a new occupant in the New York governor's office as of next January. Today, the lame-duck--and just generally lame--George Pataki gave his final "State of the State" address. For those of you who aren't New Yorkers, Pataki has so totally checked out of his current job that he spent the eve of the NYC transit strike trying to make friends and raise money in New Hampshire; the buffoon actually thinks he can mount a serious campaign for president. In advance of today's address, I was joking with colleagues that Pataki's presidential fever might derange him sufficiently to mention ethanol--the corn-based fuel that Iowa caucus hopefuls always find so compelling--in his speech. Per the Times, so help me, he really did!

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