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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

 
Nice Tries

by digby



Josh Marshall is collecting "nice tries,"
which are the brownnosing, he said/she said statements by the media implying that all this nasty corruption business is a bi-partisan matter.

It's obvious that the "culture of corruption" charge is scaring the GOP because they've clearly put the hammer down on the media to portray the looming scandal tsunami as something "everybody does." This, of course, is utter bullshit. As Marshall says, it comes from the proximity to power and the Democrats are way out of that game.

All DC reporters know about the K Street Project:


[B]eginning with the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, and accelerating in 2001, when George W. Bush became president, the GOP has made a determined effort to undermine the bipartisan complexion of K Street. And Santorum's Tuesday meetings are a crucial part of that effort. Every week, the lobbyists present pass around a list of the jobs available and discuss whom to support. Santorum's responsibility is to make sure each one is filled by a loyal Republican--a senator's chief of staff, for instance, or a top White House aide, or another lobbyist whose reliability has been demonstrated. After Santorum settles on a candidate, the lobbyists present make sure it is known whom the Republican leadership favors. "The underlying theme was [to] place Republicans in key positions on K Street. Everybody taking part was a Republican and understood that was the purpose of what we were doing," says Rod Chandler, a retired congressman and lobbyist who has participated in the Santorum meetings. "It's been a very successful effort."

If today's GOP leaders put as much energy into shaping K Street as their predecessors did into selecting judges and executive-branch nominees, it's because lobbying jobs have become the foundation of a powerful new force in Washington politics: a Republican political machine. Like the urban Democratic machines of yore, this one is built upon patronage, contracts, and one-party rule. But unlike legendary Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley, who rewarded party functionaries with jobs in the municipal bureaucracy, the GOP is building its machine outside government, among Washington's thousands of trade associations and corporate offices, their tens of thousands of employees, and the hundreds of millions of dollars in political money at their disposal.



Political machines are not unprecedented. Patrick Fitzgerald is dismantling both a Republican and Democratic one in Chicago as we speak. We've seen "heckuva-job-Brownies" before. We've seen politicians and business work together to rip off the taxpayers and cheat the little guy many times. We've seen greedy politicians before. But this current national GOP machine is unique in its blatant, in-your-face arrogance and the swiftness with which it descended into utter, all-out corruption such that even a Republican run Justice department cannnot ignore it.

As the Abramoff scandal unfolds, it's important to remember that Jack Abramoff is not just another lobbyist or even just another Republican. He and Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed all ran the college Republicans during the Reagan years. He is a "movement conservative" of the innermost circle of movement conservatives. This is not a fluke. It's endemic to the modern Republican party.

As for Marshall's collection, I would suggest that he check out the first 15 minutes of Hardball today. Tweety could hardly stop talking about how corruption is totally non-partisan in any way. Tony Blankley at least had the good graces to say that if he were a Democratic operative he'd be wearing a bib --- to catch the drool.

However, my winner of the day is from Wolf Blitzer's 'The Situation Room" today in which Bruce Morton went all the way back to the 70's Wilbur Wayne Hays and his mistress-on -the-payroll-who-couldn't-take-dictation, Elizabeth Ray, to demonstrate how corrupt the Democrats were. (The only corrupt Republicans mentioned in the piece were Cunningham and ... Gingrich, who it was claimed had to leave office in part because of his crooked book deal, which isn't actually true.)

The kicker was a poll showing that 63 percent of the public consider most Democratic representatives are honest compared to 57 percent who think that most Republican representatives are honest. Morton said that means it's a tie.



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