Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The new Republican corruption paradigm

Looks like Republican lobbyist Jack “Stoolie” Abramoff is singing. This will, as the article says, open things up for a government investigation into massive corruption.

Now I’ve never been the kind to complain about my Christmas presents. Getting anything at all is something to be grateful for, since you really shouldn’t expect anything in the first place. That’s selfish. However, I’m not sure how much of a gift this is. I mean, Abramoff is well overdue to be investigated. So are Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, and many others whose names should be more familiar to us than they already are. That the investigation is beginning is something to be happy about. They need to be brought to justice or let off, in case the appearance of impropriety is indeed nothing more than an appearance of impropriety.

That said, the problem I have is that this is going to be a government investigation into corruption. Considering that the Republicans have most of the control over the government right now, and considering that most of the likely suspects (if not all) are Republicans, well… this is much like letting the fox investigate the henhouse.

I’m hoping something good comes of this, but I know better than to expect too much. It’s pleasant to see Abramoff getting nailed, anyway. I’d much prefer an independent investigation, though you can bet the party in power would work to short circuit that, too. Consider how Bush has been screaming blue murder lately about how someone ratted him out about his wiretapping. He’s not up there working hard to justify his brazen violation of the Fourth Amendment (which would be bad enough) so much as he’s out there attacking the leakers for having sold him out. Since in the Bush administration loyalty trumps ethics, the absolute worst thing that Bush could call anyone is disloyal.

What it comes down to is a paradigm clash: the Democrats are screaming about ethics violations, while the current incarnation of the Republican Party is screaming about loyalty violations. We’re arguing at cross purposes right now. What the Democrats need to do is make the connection: call them on this loyalty and make it clear that such loyalty is unethical. I don’t know if that would bring any traction, but it’s worth a shot. Today’s Republican-style corruption needs to be brought in, and desperately so. Pretending that they’re playing by the rules is dangerously naïve and will prove ultimately harmful to any efforts to bring the guilty to justice and to keep their corruption in check.

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