Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Jack Flash

Did you catch the gangster look Jack Abramoff was sporting as he walked out of court yesterday? He was decked out with his trench coat and his mob topper, as if to announce his status to the world as the Al Capone of the K Street set. He’s clearly preparing for his stay in the slammer, he’s bulked up and now he’s building up his street cred. Way to take it like a man Jack, I’m sure you’ll make some lifelong friends over the next 7 to 10.

Jack Abramoff may be going down, but he is determined not to go down alone which is good news for the country. At first it was Rep. Bob Ney who was the chosen one, then it became up to 12 Congressmen who would get to share the joy. Now Abramoff is spouting off saying he can implicate up to 60 lawmakers. You have got to love this guy’s spirit! I just hope he has the evidence to back up his claims. Being able to show that he gave Congressmen money or services in return for specific legislative gains is one thing, simply implicating them in activity that has become commonplace in DC is something all together different. Here’s to hoping that he’s got the goods on these dirt-bag Republicans.

I spent a lot of time watching C-Span today and I have to say that the signs are pretty encouraging. There is an awful lot of quiet from folks who can’t ever seem to say enough and there was a lot of scurrying around today dumping any bit of money Republicans could track down that came from Abramoff. Even the President got in on the action giving $6000 of Abramoff tainted money to charity. I wonder what happened to the other $94,000 Jack raised for Bush/Cheney '04, I guess it was already spent on all those secret computer programmers at Diebold. The fear is palpable and DC residents may want to invest in some floatation devices, what with the river of sweat flowing down the Capitol steps.

So the big question is, what if the dream comes true and 60 Republican lawmakers are indicted on charges of bribery? That still doesn’t translate into an automatic shift in the balance of power on the Hill. Tom DeLay has shown that being indicted of a crime doesn’t mean you have to give up your Congressional seat. He may have lost his power position as majority leader, but he still represents his district and continues to be a loyal vote for the Republican Party. Most likely there will be a few indictments on bribery, a handful more aides charged with influence peddling, and lots of sleazy yet legal activity will be revealed both within Congress and the Bush administration. I’m not as confident as some that this will bring about victory for Democrats come November. It would be the logical outcome of a scandal of this magnitude, but unfortunately, electronic voting machines have their own kind of logic, one created in the corporate offices of Diebold, Sequoia and ES&S.


Anonymous Jonathan said...

It will be interesting to see how this whole affair plays out. Any reasonable person would have to assume that a republican lobbyist, in a Washington political environment where republicans control the executive and legislative branches, would have mainly approached republican politicians for help in achieving his ends. Did he also approach democrats? I’m sure he did. But that is hardly the point.

What is important to remember here is that this whole fiasco is not about the giving or receiving of innocent campaign contributions. What determines wrong doing and criminal offence is if there was any quid pro quo. The right wing flying monkeys are attempting to frame this imbroglio as a nonpartisan or bipartisan issue. They claim that Abramoff gave campaign contributions to both republicans and democrats. Which is not true, Abramoff never gave a dime to a democratic candidate. Some of his clients did give money to democrats. And that would be expected. It is interesting to note, however, that his clients gave twice as much to republicans as they did democrats. That may be very innocent or it may be an indication of the influence that Abramoff exerted on his clients.

I am hopeful, but not confident, that there will be tangible evidence implicating any lawmaker or aide that gets indicted. In other words, I hope that the prosecutors don’t simply rely on Abramoff’s word on who he was able to improperly influence. That there is other evidence to back up his claims. I say this because Alice Fisher, the Justice Department official with oversight of this investigation, is a partisan republican who was recess appointed by Bush to her current post. Anyone with an ounce of political awareness and knowledge about Abramoff and Fisher would have to conclude that they will do everything they can, including perjury, to try to implicate as many democrats (and possibly as few republicans) as possible.

In addition to the 60 lawmakers you note (the vast majority of which must be republicans) I am also reading that there will be a significant number of executive branch political appointees who will be indicted. As far as I know there are not a whole lot of democratic appointees left in the executive branch. This affair is but one of many where the true character of conservatives is showing. The list of ethical, moral, and legal lapses of republicans is like the energizer bunny. It just keeps going, and going, and going. I genuinely buy into the republican culture of corruption theme. Simply put: republicans lack the moral clarity to govern.

7:21 AM  

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