Thursday, December 29, 2005

abramoff

This profile in today's Washington Post about ethically- and legally-challenged superlobbyist Jack Abramoff is well worth a read. He has been heavily involved in many events over the past 25 years that have lead to today's sorry state of affairs, including Grover Norquist's takeover of the College Republicans, Gingrich's revolution, and DeLay's K Street Project. Not to mention the billpadding, Indian cheating, influence peddling, media buying, and all the rest of it that have brought Abramoff to the brink of prison and (if he is to be believed) bankruptcy.

The surfing rightwinger from California, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said of his friend: "I think he's been dealt a bad hand and the worst, rawest deal I've ever seen in my life. Words like bribery are being used to describe things that happened every day in Washington and are not bribes."

Funny thing is, Rohrabacher (whom I met once, he is kind of fun to talk to, even if he is to the right of Attila the Hun) is probably half-right -- things like this DO happen in Washington. But he draws the wrong conclusion. This doesn't mean that Abramoff's payoffs aren't bribes. What it DOES mean is that Congress is even more corrupt than we could imagine.

So much for Gingrich's Contract with America. Jim Wright's financial shenanigans (remember Gingrich crucified him for relatively minor corruption involving Wright supporters buying Wright's book in bulk) are strictly minor league compared to what today's Republican Party practices.