Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ethics Exhaustion Part 2

It was long ago that humorist Will Rogers noted "We have the best Congress money can buy."

Two recent finds on the web indicated how widespread the current culture in D.C. has turned to representing private interests and not private citizens. For instance, the number of federal lobbyists in 2000 was 16,000 but by 2005 that number was 35,000. Ever since the courts decided, with no debate, to designate many of the rights of an individual, or corporate personhood, to a corporation, we have steadily increased the influence of business and erased the protections of individuals.

With 13 billion dollars being spent on lobbying between 1998 and 2005 and over 250 former congressional members or agency heads now employed as lobbyists, whose voice in America is loudest? The individual or the corporate person?

Cries of "your side is almost as bad as our side" in the current Abramoff scandal are at best a distraction. Even the National Review plainly states this issue is deeply damaging to the Republicans:

"
It is true that any Washington influence peddler is going to spread cash and favors as widely as possible, and 210 members of Congress have received Abramoff-connected dollars. But this is, in its essence, a Republican scandal, and any attempt to portray it otherwise is a misdirection.

Abramoff is a Republican who worked closely with two of the country's most prominent conservative activists, Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed. Top aides to the most important Republican in Congress, Tom DeLay (R., Tex.) were party to his sleazy schemes. The only people referred to directly in Abramoff's recent plea agreement are a Republican congressmen and two former Republican congressional aides. The GOP members can make a case that the scandal reflects more the way Washington works than the unique perfidy of their party, but even this is self-defeating, since Republicans run Washington."

2 comments:

The Editor said...

Lobbyists are going to pander to those who have the power to give them what they want, and as the power in Washington is held by the right, how could anyone suspect that equal amounts of suspician should fall to the left? Since Bush took office, Republicans have cut Democrats out of nearly all decision making. Now, if you are trying to get Congress to pass some bit of legislation for you, are you going to shimmy up to the party that can't even bring a motion to the floor, or to the party that controls the floor?

In times of Democratic power, there were democratic congressmen who took bribes, but never on this level. Look at the numbers folks: the number of lobbyists has nearly doubled since the Republican coup--indicative of a government that can be bought at the right price. I've been following the Abamoff story for a long time--far longer the national, "liberal" press has given it front page coverage. We are holding elections this year. The public should take note.

carpenterjd said...

I can't help but think of the image of Mr. Smith(Jimmy Stewart not Brad Pitt)pointing to the lighted capital dome and stating that adults have forgotten the meaning of this country and government and that he earnestly wanted to return to the true purpose of our govt. (all paraphrased & remembered-I haven't actually seen the movie in years) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was made in the late thirties and it seems corruption will continue to race after policy and politicians as long as we have a govt. However, I wish I could return to the time when I was idealistic and wide eyed and still believed in the basic good of people & the govt. Alas, I can't go back in time and all I can do now is try and fight the good fight and help as many as I can before the Visigoths arrive and sack our eternal city.