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Tilting at Windmills

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January 14, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

CHUTZPAH WATCH....I've linked to Nick Confessore's "Welcome to the Machine" before, but I know that most of you probably haven't followed the link to read his seminal piece on the K Street Project. So here's the nickel version:

It took something that hadn't happened in 40 years to begin to change the culture of K Street: In 1994, Republicans won control of Congress....New Republican leaders like Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, Tom DeLay, and a handful of close advisers like Ed Gillespie and Grover Norquist, quickly consolidated power in the House, and turned their attention to the lobbying community.

....In 1995, DeLay famously compiled a list of the 400 largest PACs, along with the amounts and percentages of money they had recently given to each party. Lobbyists were invited into DeLay's office and shown their place in "friendly" or "unfriendly" columns. ("If you want to play in our revolution," DeLay told The Washington Post, "you have to live by our rules.")

....Working on the outside, Norquist accelerated what he calls the "K Street Project," a database intended to track the party affiliation, Hill experience, and political giving of every lobbyist in town. With Democrats out of power, these efforts are bearing fruit. Slowly, the GOP is marginalizing Democratic lobbyists and populating K Street with loyal Republicans. (DeLay alone has placed a dozen of his aides at key lobbying and trade association jobs in the last few years "graduates of the DeLay school," as they are known.) Already, the GOP and some of its key private-sector allies, such as PhRMA, have become indistinguishable.

Here are the key points: Today's Republican entanglement with corporate lobbyists like Jack Abramoff is not an accident. It's not a matter of a few bad apples. And it's not something that happened gradually as Republicans got overly accustomed to power and lost their revolutionary zeal. It was a deliberate strategy, conceived by the leaders of the 1994 revolution as part of their fundamental governing strategy, and pursued relentlessly ever since.

Got that? Good. Now listen to this excerpt from John Boehner's pathetically inept PowerPoint pitch, "For a Majority That Matters":

The sordid spectacle of Jack Abramoff arises from two factors....The second is that many of the lobbyists who enter our offices every day to represent their clients are, for all practical purposes, complete mysteries to us. Yet for the House to function, some degree of trust is necessary. Many lobbyists are of the highest integrity and feel as much of a duty to the House as a democratic institution as they do to their clients. But theres every incentive for those with more questionable ethics to shortchange us and the House. And absent our personal, longstanding relationships, there is no way for us to tell the difference between the two.

The chutzpah quotient here is staggering. Boehner is seriously trying to suggest that the real problem behind the Republican corruption scandal is that Republicans don't know the lobbying community well enough.

Let that sink in. No group in history has been closer to the corporate lobbying community than today's GOP. They meet with top lobbyists weekly. They track their every donation. They keep detailed databases of thousands of them. They put the arm on them to host fundraisers at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And of them all, Jack Abramoff was by long odds the best known of the bunch: a Republican operative for three decades, a good friend (and generous campaign contributor) to more than half the Republican caucus, and a man who steered tens of millions of dollars into Republican coffers.

But according to Boehner, the real problem behind the "sordid spectacle" of Jack Abramoff is that Republicans aren't close enough to the lobbying community. What's desperately needed is more "personal, longstanding relationships," not fewer.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, liberal weenies.

Kevin Drum 1:29 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (55)

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Comments

i hope boehner is elected majority leader, afterall. all we need is for republicans to foster an even closer relationship to slimeball lobbyists in anticipation of november's elections.

with enemies like that, who needs friends?

Posted by: nova silverpill on January 14, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

Thr main issue is the gap between (a) the people who think that the Republican corruption is worse than the intentions of Islamofascists who want to kill us all and (b) the people who want to keep eye on the ball and want our leaders to fight against our sworn enemies.

I suspect that the democrats will do their best to divert the attention of Americans from the terible future that we face if we do not confront the terrorists head on by convincing them that the type of corruption that has gone on for centuries is all of sudden the main problem now that the Republicans are possibly involved.

I am willing to bet that the liberals have already decided in their mind that Tom DeLay and Robert Ney are guilty guilty guilty.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 14, 2006 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but how is the American public every going to find out? If you watched the clip of Dean and Wolf Blitzer that made the rounds in the last week or so, it's clear that the news media is not doing its job. But it's worse than a lack of simple due diligence on fact checking. The television reporters are literally repeating Republican talking points as if they were generally accepted, common knowledge facts (even when the most cursory of fact checking would show they are 100% false).

Without the media actually calling politicians on lies, even something as one-sided as the Abramoff scandal will be reported in a 'balanced' way, i.e. making it sound like both parties are equally guilty of malfeasance.

Unfortunately, the Republicans have also started to do to the newsmedia what they have done with lobbyists. First, the Republicans provide easily digestible press releases (even video that passes as independent journalism) which allows lazy reporters to just phone in a story without any effort. Second, the GOP is better at getting its representatives not only on television, but on one unified message. Third, the GOP punishes programs that ask tough questions (play nice or you don't get big names on your show) and rewards people who push their talking points. And don't forget the blood fued the GOP has had against public television, the last (and fleeting) bastion of investigative journalism. Criticize the president, lose funding and be put under the control of political zealots who will force a specific political viewpoint.

And most people just don't know or care enough to do anything useful. Maybe its all the Prozac, but if things don't chance soon and dramatically, I think we can stick a fork in this democracy.

Posted by: Augustus on January 14, 2006 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

The Boehner pitch is standard Republican practice: play the victim card. "If only we'd known, but those bad lobbyists took advantage of our naivet!"

And is there a more stupid line than this:

"Many lobbyists are of the highest integrity and feel as much of a duty to the House as a democratic institution as they do to their clients."

Bullshit. They may have integrity, but their allegiance is to their employers, not the House of Representatives.

Posted by: Linkmeister on January 14, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

Apart from a unique and singular Dean and a few other ones, Dem leaders are in general pussies.

The prospect of telling the truth and even winning intimidates them.

Posted by: lib on January 14, 2006 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

"If you want to play in our revolution," DeLay told The Washington Post, "you have to live by our rules."

Quote that in a major campaign commercial and DeLay's sunk. Compile similar quotes into a national campaign, and the Republicans are sunk (at least for '06).

Posted by: the good reverend on January 14, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

Today's Republican entanglement with corporate lobbyists like Jack Abramoff is not an accident. . . . It was a deliberate strategy, conceived by the leaders of the 1994 revolution as part of their fundamental governing strategy . . . . Kevin Drum

Doesn't such language give too much away?

The K Street Project is a means to raise campaign funds with which Republicans can stay in power and Republican leadership can continue to dominate their back benchers. It has nothing to do with governance.

Posted by: Ellen1910 on January 14, 2006 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz,

Isn't Republican corruption an obstacle to an effective and efficient GWOT/GSAVE.

I'm not really up on my political theory. Is there some sort of libertarian model whereby A) politicians working feverishly to fill their campaign chests, line their pockets, and hire their friends magically results in B) the most perfect and effective government possible? I'd love to hear about it.

Posted by: B on January 14, 2006 at 4:56 AM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz, I don't want to think of you as another bedwetter, but what else is one to make of this?

the terible future that we face if we do not confront the terrorists head on

Those mean old terrorists aren't really a threat to civilization, compared to diabetes, say. Even the communists didn't turn out to be such a threat (although the Chinese look like they're going to beat us at the manufacturing game).

Posted by: bad Jim on January 14, 2006 at 5:31 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney, wouldn't you agree that tu quoque is a rather limp, not to say flaccid response?

Posted by: bad Jim on January 14, 2006 at 5:37 AM | PERMALINK

Also, when did the Dems take such complete control over K street as we see now with the Repubs? I don't ever remember hearing that they tried to cut off funding from Republicans and tried to get ONLY their staff hired as lobbyists. Sorry, Delay et. al. have taken this to a new level.

Posted by: tomeck on January 14, 2006 at 6:40 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney, wouldn't you agree that tu quoque is a rather limp, not to say flaccid response?

For Ayatollah Chuckles, no response is too flaccid.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on January 14, 2006 at 7:05 AM | PERMALINK

HERE'S CHUTZPAH FR YOU:

WHY DIDN'T YOU OBJECT WHEN CLINTON WAS SHOVING A MICROPHONE UP YOUR ASS AND TELLING YOU TO PUT SOME ICE ON IT IF YOU DIDN'T LIKE IT.

ALL THE WHILE THE NEW YORK TIMES WAS HELPING HIM GREASE THE MICROPHONE AND TELL YOU IT DOESN'T HURT:

Under Clinton, NY Times called surveillance "a necessity"
January 12th, 2006


The controversy following revelations that U.S. intelligence agencies have monitored suspected terrorist related communications since 9/11 reflects a severe case of selective amnesia by the New York Times and other media opponents of President Bush. They certainly didnt show the same outrage when a much more invasive and indiscriminate domestic surveillance program came to light during the Clinton administration in the 1990s. At that time, the Times called the surveillance a necessity.

If you made a phone call today or sent an e-mail to a friend, theres a good chance what you said or wrote was captured and screened by the countrys largest intelligence agency. (Steve Kroft, CBS 60 Minutes)

Those words were aired on February 27, 2000 to describe the National Security Agency and an electronic surveillance program called Echelon whose mission, according to Kroft,

is to eavesdrop on enemies of the state: foreign countries, terrorist groups and drug cartels. But in the process, Echelons computers capture virtually every electronic conversation around the world.

Echelon was, or is (its existence has been under-reported in the American media), an electronic eavesdropping program conducted by the United States and a few select allies such as the United Kingdom.

Tellingly, the existence of the program was confirmed not by the New York Times or the Washington Post or by any other American media outlet these were the Clinton years, after all, and the American media generally treats Democrat administrations far more gently than Republican administrations but by an Australian government official in a statement made to an Australian television news show.

The Times actually defended the existence of Echelon when it reported on the program following the Australians revelations.

Few dispute the necessity of a system like Echelon to apprehend foreign spies, drug traffickers and terrorists.

And the Times article quoted an N.S.A. official in assuring readers

...that all Agency activities are conducted in accordance with the highest constitutional, legal and ethical standards.

Where is TWM expose' on echelon??????

Posted by: Patton on January 14, 2006 at 7:24 AM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz,

You imply that that terrorist are a greater threat than a little bit o' corruption in DC. You sound like a child of the TV period. Eyes wide open at the horrid spectacle of terrorism, but blind to the less dramatic corruption.

Terrorism is like the flu (very hard to permanently remove and rarely fatal, but can be pushed away for a while). Corruption is like cancer (easy to nip in the beginning, but horribly fatal to any society's growth and developement). Ignoring corruption within the political spectrum is devastating.

Posted by: tanstaafl on January 14, 2006 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

Thr main issue is the gap between (a) the people who think that the Republican corruption is worse than the intentions of Islamofascists who want to kill us all and (b) the people who want to keep eye on the ball and want our leaders to fight against our sworn enemies.

You are wrong as usual, tbrosz. There is no gap between (a) and (b). There is an identity. The gap is between (a)(b) and the GOP which is comprised of whiny selfish and cowardly snivilers, who would trade our freedoms for their security in a heartbeat.

Posted by: bobbyp on January 14, 2006 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: gege on January 14, 2006 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

Fascists--and mafiosa--believe in power for its own sake and government by force and lies. For example, the mob that stopped vote counting in Florida were Delay/Abramoff brownshirts recruited equally from the Hill and K Street, flown in on Tobacco company jets and pretending to be "outraged" local voters. No one who believes in Democracy would wish to stop vote counting.

Democracy means respect for, and protecting the rights of, the political opposition. Like fascists--or organized crime bosses--Delay and Abramoff don't believe in Democracy or the rule of law, so it's quite appropriate that these GOP gangsters are headed for prison.

Posted by: steve High on January 14, 2006 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

What we all forget about is that the Republicans have used the K-Street Project to reorganize lobbying not for the purpose of making government more efficient, but for the purpose of extracting as much money as possible for Republican politicians--either legally or illegally. The big organizations, willing to give the most money, are favored. The K-Street Project has lead directly to a system where the congress/lobbyists are bundling government contracts to help those big favored organizations.
When the primary goal of legislation is to help favored (large) organizations acquire contracts to provide requested services, the services provided are most often overpriced and inadequate.

You shouldn't be shocked when you read about the lack of adequate body and vehicle armour leading to the deaths of many service men and women in Iraq. Nor should you be surprised to learn that the senior drug benefit is an unnecessarily complicated maze for seniors to navigate. The goal of Republican government is to raid the American treasury, not to provide good government for the constituents.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 14, 2006 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

"...now that the Republicans are possibly involved."

POSSIBLY involved???????

POSSIBLY?

tbrosz.....showing again the apparent attraction of Bush's ass to Repub noses.

Posted by: matt on January 14, 2006 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Thr main issue is the gap between (a) the people who think that the Republican corruption is worse than the intentions of Islamofascists who want to kill us all and (b) the people who want to keep eye on the ball and want our leaders to fight against our sworn enemies.

If you believe that democracy is a bulwark against terrorism, then it is certainly appropriate that we spend as much time maintaining are own democracy as we spend trying to export democracy to other countries.

Maybe the reason that we are having so much difficulty creating democracy in Iraq is because
our leaders have such a poor understanding of prinicples of democracy.

Posted by: Stephen on January 14, 2006 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Zawahiri MAY be dead is not news. It's a travesty. JMG MAY be having a secret affair with Kirsten Dunst. Naturally, we've covered it up. So prove it wrong. Some Pentagon flack MAY have been ordered to come up with some good news or write press releases in Greenland for the next five years.

Posted by: Sam H. on January 14, 2006 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

How much more closer a set of personal relationships can you get than former longtime aide, spouse, top fundraiser or former representative?

Posted by: paul on January 14, 2006 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

We've had half a dozen comments parsing the satrical posting from the fake Tbrosz.

Don't worry, the real thing will soon make an appearance. His favorite tropes: faux sagacity, a better use of the English language, an appeal to authorities (which inevitably turn out to be unreliable or not on-point), reductio-ad-adsurdum arguments, and an utter incapacity to respond to the substance of criticism, all followed by a retreat into silence. These are repeated in the next post, showing another key feature: that he is ineducable.

Posted by: Tbrosz watch on January 14, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

It seems pretty obvious that in the two-party environment the separation between the legislature and the executive power has all but disappeared. Whatever is left of checks-and-balances is due to the fact that elections happen at different points in time and therefore it leaves a possibility that the White House, the Senate and the House might not be controlled by the same party. But if they are, there is no more separation of power, definitely not in the spirit of the Constitution.

Yes, the GOP abuse of power is appalling. Yet, this is to be expected, and the Dems are just as likely to exhibit the same behavior, especially if they win big time in 2006 and 2008 (just read some of Dems blogs). The problem is systemic.

The GOP strategy is a very effective evolutionary adaptation to the current set of fundamental political selection rules and therefore it is bound to be used by both parties. One should not hope that politicians can be benevolent enough not to use the winning strategy because it is not right. Here is an obvious remedy: Do not allow Presidential candidates be associated with any party represented in the House or the Senate by requiring them to be Independents or represent their own for-presidency-only parties. Just as obvious is the fact that because this is a Constitutional amendment, it is a non-starter.

What is to be done?

Posted by: MrM on January 14, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

"Maybe the reason that we are having so much difficulty creating democracy in Iraq is because
our leaders have such a poor understanding of prinicples of democracy."

GOP gangsters understand the principles of democracy, they just don't believe in practicing them.

The issue is get take power out of the hands of the K Street/GOP gangsters:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/3584174.htmlhttp://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/3584174.html

Posted by: steve High on January 14, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Patton,

I remember that program and was outraged then as well. My recollection is that it was based in the UK and monitored all international communications , and I mean all, but not domestic communications. I hope no regular on this site ever saw Clinton as anything more than Republican-lite. Still I'll take the lite over the real thing if those are the only choices I have, even though I actually voted for Nader.

Lew

Posted by: no-thing on January 14, 2006 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Sometimes when I wonder why I come here, Alice reminds me. It's Hil-arious. Here is Alice/Patton posting is ALL CAPS again, this time about someone inserting something into people's anuses. Jesus, dude. YOU ARE SO COMPLETELY A REPRESSED HOMOSEXUAL, IT'S NOT FUNNY. You are a freaking parody of the right wing macho man who is doing everything he can not to admit his sexual orientation but it is screaming out of every post you make. Patton: Go see Brokeback Mountain. Feel good about it. Accept who you are. ALL THOSE ANGRY CAPS WILL GO AWAY. I promise.

Posted by: Pat on January 14, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Sigh.

So, like, should we all just start posting "It doesn't matter if the Democrats are corrupt/and or cowards" on every single goddamn thread until if finally sinks in? I hate to be so reductionist, but face it folks, that's the only real issue.

A real opposition party could have taken Bush down in 2000, 2004, about the lies with Iraq, about trashing the economy, about the corruption with public funds, about Katrina, about... Jeezus it goes on and on. When will the Democrats take it to them? Barring that, when will the progressive base abandon the Dems? This election cycle is the breaking point, at least for me.

If an effective opposition doesn't make hay with a scandal, it doesn't exist. That's the media ontology we're stuck with.

Posted by: mondo dentro on January 14, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

A few years ago there was a feature piece in Washington paper about a meeting of young Republicans. One memorable statement by a young girl to a reporter was that her career goal was to become a lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical industry.

I think you liberals are destroying the hopes and aspirations of so many youth who have such aspirations.

Posted by: lib on January 14, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Almost 10:45 AM EST and no rdw.

I thought Saturday and Sunday at PA was rdw posts wall to wall time. Perhaps Kevin, in trying to always be "fair and balanced" could designate Witless to be the Weekend Blogger. I could then concentrate on playing the horses at Santa Anita.

Posted by: stupid git on January 14, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Can hardly wait to see the K types driving around DC in their new Geeley "Refined" Chinese cars.

Posted by: stupid git on January 14, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Its pretty clear that as long as the GOP has terrorism in its back pocket, they can do whatever the FUCK! they want. And its true. As long as Amer live in fear of raghead boogie men in airplanes, the GOP wins.

Get it?

Posted by: The fake Fake Al on January 14, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

911, the bes thing to even happen to the GOP.

Posted by: The fake Fake Al on January 14, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

911, the gift that keeps on giving.

Posted by: The fake Fake Al on January 14, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Politics makes stange bedfellows...
Terrorists and the GOP need each other.

Posted by: The fake Fake Al on January 14, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

"No group in history has been closer to the corporate lobbying community than today's GOP. "

First the claim, so general as to be dubious. Then the supporting statements seem bland, generic; like they apply equally well to the Elks Lodge.

I can think of worse, Tammany Hall, Teapot Dome, comes to mind, and war graft of all kinds. Not to mention the birth of America was a mercantile plot with English trading partners.

People plot, business managers plot better than most, everyone who plots eventually plots with U.S. government somewhere along the line. Eliminate some federal government and I bet corruption goes down faster than linear.

Posted by: Matt on January 14, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Eliminate some federal government and I bet corruption goes down faster than linear.

I agree. It sure worked in Nigeria. In fact, pretty much all countries with weak central governments illustrate the veracity of this remark.

Posted by: mondo dentro on January 14, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

I agree. It sure worked in Nigeria.

and look how Somalia is doing!

if you eliminate "some of the federal government", something else will take its place - could be states, could be corporations, could be guys with really big guns. and then that will attract corruption.

Posted by: cleek on January 14, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who thinks reporters are going to suddenly understand and come to the rescue is deluded: they're Republican operatives. What was the howling about Liberal Media about? It was the patter of the magician as he's about to saw a girl in half.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on January 14, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Priority Budgeting

Break spending bills into their individual lines and have each legislator assign a percentage value to each one. Re-assemble the items in order of preference and then have the President draw the line at what is to be funded.

Our governmental structure has been so successful because it incorporates top down order in the executive branch and the bottom up process in the legislative branch, with the judicial branch to mediate.

One of the primary reasons it has ceased to function effectively is because the leadership of the legislative branch has been allowed to appropriate all of the effective power. This creates a situation where only those who cater to this status quo are allowed to advance, thus compounding the situation. As the specific interests of this group are promoted, corruption is natural.

Because of this structure, there is no way for a "Mister Smith" to go and clean things up. Even if he were elected President, he couldn't reform congress.

So what my idea would do is to make individual legislators much more effective as individual operators. The leadership would be forced to actually lead on issues and not just herd them around like so many cattle. Specific proposals would have to appeal to the broadest possible constituency, not just to a few power brokers. Riders would have to stand as their own line items, or they would drag the average of whatever they were attached to further down the bill. If arm twisting is going on, then legislators might trade a few percentage points, this way, or another, rather then switching a yes to a no, or vice versa.

Posted by: brodix on January 14, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

But according to Boehner, the real problem behind the "sordid spectacle" of Jack Abramoff is that Republicans aren't close enough to the lobbying community.

Indeed, the K Street Project was even more than a lobbying project. It was setup to be a patronage system for the Republicans, and the good little Republican boys and girls could after sometime on Capital Hill could retire to their new home. As Grover Norquist said: "Democrats in Congress retire to universities, K Street is where Republicans go to retire."

And Confessore's article also has this little paragraph about why the patronage system worked so well for the Republicans:

Day-to-day, the most trusted lobbyists--like those who attend Santorum's meetings--serve as commissars, providing the leadership with eyes and ears as well as valuable advice and feedback. And generally, placing party surrogates atop trade associations makes them more responsive to the party's needs. However, the K Street strategy also provides the GOP with a number of specific advantages. From a machine perspective, such jobs are far more useful than appointive positions in the executive branch. Private sector work has none of government's downside. Political machines thrive on closed-door decision-making; on K Street, there's no other kind. Neither are trade associations subject to inspector generals or congressional oversight; there are no rules against whom you can meet with, no reporters armed with FOIAs. These jobs also make for better patronage. Whereas a deputy undersecretary might earn $140,000, a top oil lobbyist can make $400,000. Controlling K Street also helps Republicans accumulate political talent. Many ex-Clintonites who might have wanted top lobbying positions couldn't get them, and so left Washington for posts at universities, corporations, and foundations elsewhere. But the GOP, able to dole out the most desirable jobs, has kept more of its best people in Washington, where they can be hauled out for government or campaign work like clubs in a golf bag.

It's really quite a remarkable system the Republicans set up - a guarantee for permanent Republican power with policies that are a disaster for the American public. For more info on this aspect, read my post from last week.

Posted by: Mary on January 14, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Boehner is probably concerned that the main-street media keeps reporting that some Democrats might have received money from Abramoff-related program activities. Any money flowing to Democrats undermines our national security.

Posted by: Bud on January 14, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Democrat: Remember that guy you attacked on the street and broke his back? He's in horrible pain.

Republican: That's because we didn't kill him! And you think that's our fault?

Posted by: cld on January 14, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

How does not knowing the Lobbyists make this a problem?

Wouldn't it be harder to do this sort of frisky business if they didn't know these guys really well?

This 'they pulled the wool over our eyes!' stuff is really beyond believing. They should've known what they could or couldn't take - and they were on the take.

The lobbyists didn't do squat wrong. The politicians did.

Posted by: Crissa on January 14, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect that the democrats will do their best to divert the attention of Americans from the terible future that we face if we do not confront the terrorists head on by convincing them that the type of corruption that has gone on for centuries is all of sudden the main problem now that the Republicans are possibly involved. -tbroz

Terrible future? What?

I know I won't get an answer, because there isn't one. Terrorists kill less people than corporate and political malfeasance each year.

The fact that tbroz doesn't understand that more people die to car wrecks or poisoning from corporations or any of a thousand wrongs than from any crime or all crime.

More people die in the US to car wrecks each year than die in the entire world to terrorism.

Posted by: Crissa on January 14, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

It is interesting to see how the republicans have adapted so well to campaign finance laws.

Laws restrict the dollar amounts given by an individual to any candidate, they figure out that they can use this reported information to blacklist people who aren't donating to them and make being a republican, or at least not supporting democrats good for your career whether it is as a lobbiest or in the telecommunications industry (recall how people who had donated to kerry were barred from that telecom industry meeting by the whitehouse). I'd be shocked if they aren't doing the same thing with government contracts to the degree they are able.

Posted by: jefff on January 14, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect that the democrats will do their best to divert the attention of Americans from the terible future that we face if we do not confront the terrorists head on by convincing them that the type of corruption that has gone on for centuries is all of sudden the main problem now that the Republicans are possibly involved. -tbroz

misspelled last name = fake tbrosz. Even so:

Divert attention? That is the modus operandi primus of the Rove handbook!!! MO #2 is to minimize the offense "this has gone on for centuries..blah blah, blah..." Guess what? Saying it has been going on for centuries does not make it so. (MO#2 redefined= lie). MO #3 is refer back to MO #1 by diverting attention to something non threatening to their goals.

Practicing this is akin to practicing religion in this particular group of thugs more generally known as the republican insiders.

Now we are supposed to fix our attention on the rhetoric of reform...no don't look ever here at the continuing business as usual at the K Street Project....oh look! We are bombing a village in Pakistan to keep every one safe! You know, we never really knew who those lobbyist people were....oh look!!..a puppy!!


Posted by: jcricket on January 14, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

I put it in my pipe, will smoke it later.

Posted by: noel gallagher on January 14, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie/Cheney, get your Republican congress to pass an anti-abortion law. Have you Republican President sign it and then if it goes to the Supreme Court have your Republican Judges declare it constitutional. But no, you would rather sit there pissing and moaning about it. Too bad you weren't aborted.

Posted by: on January 14, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

But, as you can see from above, some here are either ignorant of such history or, for whatever purpose, wish to obfuscate the truth.

Indeed...we see as much from any post by Charlie, Cheney or his alias du jour.

Posted by: Gregory on January 15, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Once again it falls to me the thankless task of instructing you and your rabid base of liberal mouth-foamers on a few realities of public life in America.

It is true that in recent times the current administration and the GOP as a whole has proven sporadically incompetent, sleazy and downright mendacious in dealing with a host of matters of grave national importance. The list of such transgressions has been ably chronicled by you and your ilk in the partisan hack brigade. There is little need for me to run through it - WMDs, Katrina, Abramoff, Plame, FISA violations, torture, etc. etc., blah blah blah, yada yada yada.

Yes, you folks have had all these and more little "gotcha" moments, upon the discovery of which the Left has regularly shown itself to be basely thrilled to toot its own horn as "speakers of Truth to Power."

What your side fails to appreciate is that as terrible as any crimes by Republicans in leadership positions might be, it is in fact the whole concept of "speaking Truth to Power" that is the real cancer destroying our country from the inside out. The British of the Raj had a word for it: "Croaking."

The American polity understands this. It's why few on our side fear that the Democrats will regain any semblance of power in 2006, 2008 or beyond. But because you, Digby, and others like you so clearly have a tin ear to the concerns of real Americans, allow me to explain.

We are at war. When President Bush concedes that there exist "responsible ways" to debate our progress in the War on Terror, he is being overly generous (to his credit). But there is simply no "responsible way" to undermine through criticism of any stripe our leadership's actions to protect us, no matter how plainly mistaken, inadequate or served by ulterior motives those actions may be. There may be time for future historians to do so, though the nature of this particular war means that the proper time for such revisionism will be at least decades from now.

An analogy: The "facts on the ground" are that we Americans have, through the democratic process, lined ourselves up behind a lead dog in a sled race against Islamofacism. Even though we may at times think that this lead dog is dragging us towards thin ice, or miring us in soft snow, or hurtling us over a cliff, the only purpose served by "fouling the traces" through criticism of the leader is to lessen our resolve to compete in this Global Iditarod against Terror at all.

Nor is the profound problem of the Left's counterproductive harping limited to the affairs of war. What did incessant criticism of the President's handling of the Katrina disaster do but promote more despair amongst the victims, who clearly needed a reason for hope as much as they needed relief supplies and an evacuation plan? Who amongst the survivors will find the inner spirit to rebuild, when the Digbys of the world are constantly reminding them of promises unkept by their leaders?

In an economy that is increasingly stratified and underserving of a growing underclass mired in debt and with vanishingly few options for entry into positions of financial health, the Left would only add to the problem by putting the brakes on any optimism that may naturally, if fitfully, arise under such conditions. How? By relentlessly picking apart every failed initiative by our leadership, by doggedly bringing to light every omission of relevant data in the administration's projections ... when instead of such micro-criticism of details, a macro-optimism towards Bush economic strategy is called for, nay incumbent upon any who would call himself a patriot.

To put it bluntly, the problem is not the efficacy of any particular plan for war, disaster relief or economic growth put forward by our leaders, but rather the real threat that under the assault of liberals like you, we may have no leaders and no plans at all.

Cordially, etc.

William G. Henders

Posted by: William G. Henders on January 15, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Goebbels is laughing in Hell right now at Rep. Boner's chutzpah.

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