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January 16, 2006

Comments

wasn't Shadegg pro-term limits before he was againt them ?

I have no idea where Shadegg was on term limits, but even if he did flip-flop on the issue, he's still the best candidate. Boehner was also part of the '94 class and he's still there, too.

BTW, I've been ultra super duper busy the last few weeks, which is why I've been scarce. My schedule's a little better now, but not much.

I would have more faith in the Republican party's commitment to reforming itself if there had been any objections to selling the party to KStreet BEFORE Abramoff began to sing.
But I'm glad some of the rank and file are finally getting pissed.

Good to see you around, Charles! Not much to hate on here: "throw the bums out" has always resonated with us skeptical Western types.

But really: how many Princes of Darkness are there in Washington? Novak, Perle, anyone else? Are there any princelings I should be keeping an eye on?

I realize there hasn't been much hateworthy material lately, Jack. All I can say is keep hope alive. You never know what might be around the corner.

I realize there hasn't been much hateworthy material lately, Jack. All I can say is keep hope alive. You never know what might be around the corner.

I honestly can't tell if you're referring to Novak's possible successors or yourself there, Chas (:

FTR: He was apparently against the Medicare Drug bill before he was for it. Roughly what you'd expect from a "principled" conservative.

While I have to admit that my own reasons for preferring Shadegg to Boehnert and Blunt aren't exactly benign, I have to say that Shadegg's shaky commitment to term limits (which as Julia points out the reformers originally wanted to put into the Constitution) is indeed very amusing. He's already served twice his "maximum term" and will be going for threefold if he runs in '06, but I agree that it's a non-issue (except for whoever runs against him in '06).

That said, I endorse Shadegg for a) having the courage to oppose the medicare bill, and b) Because his ascendancy looks like a no-win for the GOP as a whole. If he stays true to his past he will not only irritate the pork-belly Republicans on whom the GOP relies for slush funding, but the K Street laundry will fall into disrepair because Shadegg doesn't seem to know anything about the influence-peddling business. Without somebody who knows how the machine works, the money people will grow isolated from the grass roots (like the Dems have been for the past ten years or so, only add an extra zero). This will demoralize the cut-my-taxes-at-all-costs Republicans.

Alternatively, to the extent that he tries to keep the spigot open he will be pissing right in the eyes of the principled fiscal/social conservatives who are now busting ass to get him in. That is liable to demoralize the smarter activists come november. The dumber ones will hang in there, but they're not as effective.

But wait, it gets better. Shadegg seems to think that a majority of Americans actually agree with the GOP on policy issues. He (apparently) wants to tell the American people that either Aunt Millie has to go out on the streets or we have to get out of Iraq! He's going to wind up advocating state-sponsored religion! In so many words! And he'll expect the same response from the whole nation that he gets from his supporters.

Basically, Shadegg is only a small fraction as dishonest and loathsome as the current GOP leadership, and as Leader he would have no time to practice before being thrown into the riptides. I believe that this sudden change of strategy will lead to enough confusion and disarray to far outweigh any benefit that might come from his credibility as an outsider :D

SomeCallMeTim, hey wait, I thought he was fer it at first and then agin' it, not agin' it and then fer it. Wasn't he one of the GOP nays?

Here is the information on Shadegg and the Medicare bill that Tim is talkig about.

Granted, he's not the only Representative who ever let party loyalty overcome his own convictions, but let's not hold him up as an exemplar of integrity.

Uh. I don't get it. Seriously. I'm pretty sure, even without consulting thomas, that he voted no. Was Shadegg persuading others to vote aye when he was on the reocrd as opposing it? Did he tell colleagues he had changed his mind (and planned to vote aye) and then double-cross them and vote no at the last minute? Was he helping keep the vote open or something?

The only substance in that article is a quote from Souder about how "at a key moment at the end, [Shadegg] helped get the votes." Huh? AFAICT I'm just supposed to take Souder's word for it that Shadegg flipped somehow, without even a sensory-specific description of what happened. Maybe he did and maybe he didn't, but that article isn't working for me (though if he did do a doublecross I can just imagine how incredibly pissed off anyone who he persuaded to vote aye is right about now!).

There is no such thing as a principled conservative. All of them voted for Bush.

I'll believe in Republican reform when I see Republicans disentangle themselves from K street. Good luck.

I also disagree that Abramoff/K street is either the next, or the most significant, conservative test. The next conservative test is this:

Where do you stand on the doctrine of the unitary executive, as currently promoted by the Bush administration?

As far as I can tell there is one and only one principled stand on that issue. The current "caught with your hands in the cookie jar" blow-up is small potatoes in comparison.

I look forward to seeing how conservative you all turn out to be.

Thanks -

Catch.com doesn't think much of the bloggers' statement.

Yeah, KCinDC, no, I didn't think much of it. I've read far too many posts in the past on rightwing blogs that amounted to "nyah, nyah, we're the ruling party and you'll never bring down The Hammer" taunts but then when it became obvious (well, in their case, way obvious) that DeLay was doomed, all of a sudden they're all about reform and doing the right thing.

The whole thing just strikes me as being opportunistic and disingenuous. I guarantee if you poke around the blogs of some of the folks who signed that letter you'll have no problem finding examples of some of those aforementioned "nyah, nyah" posts.

Charles: you've said in the past that you believe all those tainted in this scandal (or at least other similar ones) should be removed from office. ["Let the bastards swing" leaps to mind, but I don't recall if that was you or someone else who said it.] Should this scandal engulf a sizeable portion of the Republican party -- let's say, for the sake of argument, that half of the sitting GOP congressmen and 2/3 of the Republican lobbyists on K Street -- would you continue to support their removal, knowing that that would be the end of the modern Republican party as we know it?

...would you continue to support their removal, knowing that that would be the end of the modern Republican party as we know it?

I've said since last April that Delay should be gone from the leadership, but I haven't written anything about him being removed from office (unless he's broken the law). The leadership should adhere to higher ethical and principled standards, and Delay has failed on both counts. As for Blunt, it's not just that he's too close to K Street, he's also too close to the big-spending ways the party has lapsed into. I'm just as offended by unaccountable earmarks as cozy relationships to sleazebag lobbysists.

There's no way to remove the influence of lobbyists and K Street folks from politicians. Another fact of life is that much of what happens is legal though it stinks to high heaven. I don't think politicians should be removed from office because of their associations with Abramoff--unless they committed a felony, then they should railroaded out of DC--but their positions in leadership should be no more. Doesn't matter the numbers. Ney looks like the most recent casualty, and good riddance.

There's no way to remove the influence of lobbyists and K Street folks from politicians.

There is, however, a marked difference between "lobbying as usual" (in the period, say, 1950-1994, to pick relatively arbitrary dates) and the K Street Project. I'm not asking whether the influence of K Street is in general dire -- that's a much broader and thornier question -- I'm asking whether in the specific cases of accepting a) Abramoff money or b) the K Street Project's more... ethically challenged dealings, you'd advocate the ouster of a large number of Republicans.

[I'd ask the same of Democrats, I suppose, except that no Democrats are involved in this, which automatically renders certain partisan aspects moot.]

I've said since last April that Delay should be gone from the leadership, but I haven't written anything about him being removed from office (unless he's broken the law).

Why not?

Why not?

Why? The K Street Project, as far as I know, is not an illegal activity and it's not much of a stretch from how business was conducted prior to its onset. That's not just me talking; the same was said on NPR last Saturday (wish I could remember the guy's name, but he was fairly non-partisan about it).

As for accepting Abramoff's money (or his clients' money), there is no crime in it unless there is bribery or some other illegality involved. BTW, Democrats are involved in accepting Abramoff's clients' money, just as Republicans are, not taking away that this is mostly a Republican problem. My own Senator Patty Murray received $41,000 from Indian tribes who hired Abramoff to lobby for them.

"I'm asking whether in the specific cases of accepting a) Abramoff money or b) the K Street Project's more... ethically challenged dealings, you'd advocate the ouster of a large number of Republicans."

I'm pretty sure that accepting Abramoff money alone doesn't bother me enough to cause problems for all who accepted in the money. The question is always what strings came with what money. Some strings are unethical and I would have problems with. (I can't go much more into a hypothetical without hypothetical facts). I'm 100% willing to say that Abramoff himself acted improperly. I'm fairly certain there will be others who acted improperly. I'm fairly certain (or perhaps just hopeful) that the truly unethical dealings don't implicate huge factions of the party. But I'm not against money in politics as a matter of principle--if businesses protect their interests by helping elect those who protect business interests, I'm ok with that to a point.

Charles, smearing everyone who got a contribution from one of the Indian tribes is pure Republican hackery. The Indian tribes are not shell corporations set up by Abramoff to launder money through. They existed before him, and he doesn't control everything they do. Thus lumping together Abramoff's money and Abramoff's clients' money (or Abramoff's victims' money) has no purpose but obfuscation.

Now it is possible that some donations made by Indian tribes could be part of the scandal, but that requires a deeper examination. For example, you could look into whether the tribes had any legitimate interest in supporting the candidate. For instances, a donation to a candidate who is himself a member of the tribe would be rather hard to pin on Abramoff, while a donation to a fake environmental group set up to support polluting industries might bear investigation.

Why? The K Street Project, as far as I know, is not an illegal activity and it's not much of a stretch from how business was conducted prior to its onset.

You mean, except for the ideological purging?

BTW, Democrats are involved in accepting Abramoff's clients' money, just as Republicans are, not taking away that this is mostly a Republican problem.

No, it's (at present) a solely Republican problem.

My own Senator Patty Murray received $41,000 from Indian tribes who hired Abramoff to lobby for them.

These would be the Indian tribes that Jack Abramoff ripped off, yes? The ones he scammed and defrauded? Making any sort of comparison between receiving Abramoff monies and these monies goes beyond "false equivalence" and into outright distortion and, bluntly, deception. I've no doubt it's a convenient GOP talking point to pretend that it's somehow bipartisan, but it is also unmitigated BS and you should know better.

This is your party's mess, Charles, and theirs alone. You do yourself and the memory of the party-that-was a great disservice by dissembling on the matter.

Sheesh, if the National Review can be honest about Republican party corruption, Charles should be too. Charles, the NR called it a Republican problem. Your party's problem. Not the Democrats.

slightly OT, but I loved the quoted email in the WaPo about Ralph Reed concerning his dealings with Abramoff

One of the most damaging e-mails was sent by Abramoff to partner Michael Scanlon, complaining about Reed's billing practices and expenditure claims: "He is a bad version of us! No more money for him." Scanlon and Abramoff have pleaded guilty to defrauding clients.

Well if redstate and nro trust him, then that settles it, he must be as crooked, dishonest, and self serving as the rest of the people they, and charles, have been sucking off for the last five years.

^ Uh... no. Bad mom. Bad mom. No banana bread for you!

There was a revealing joke in one of Reed's e-mail messages.

On an unrelated note, Fox News thinks Reed is an appropriate choice for an expert analyst on the Abramoff scandal.

So what is a principled principal anyway? I detect placating. And that has never worked. Delay has been a strong leader, but the bigger they are the harder they fall. I'm not sure a pussy cat nomination fills the bill. Higher ethical standards? According to whom? If it can't be Delay, then it needs to be another mover and shaker. Lobbyists are necessary to help us voters control the people we've elected. They get things done while politicians work at getting reelected. Your party, my party - baloney. This is the way it works. Cross the fuzzy, blurry line, get caught and be dealt with. Too powerful? Slip up and you’re done. The Republicans need a strong leader, and all that entails. Strength, and a little junkyard dog respect. When the right choice is made, I would expect this blog to implode. Then I'll know we got 'er done.

Knock, Knock, who's there? RD is me. I'm AC/DC. It's my Party and I'll cry if I want to.

Wake up and smell the latte. It doesn't matter who you elect as your majority leader. You still won't get what you want. The Repubs have had ample opportunity to act like fiscal conservatives and they have chosen not to. A new majority leader isn't going to change that.

The only thing Shadegg brings to the majority leader job is more political cover than the other two candidates. If "The Hammer" couldn't get Republicans to cut spending why do you think Shadegg will be able to?

Charles, smearing everyone who got a contribution from one of the Indian tribes is pure Republican hackery.

What smear? Abramoff's job was to steer his clients' money in a manner that would help them get what they want.

Charles, the NR called it a Republican problem. Your party's problem. Not the Democrats.

Lily, the facts don't lie. I wrote that it's mostly a Republican problem, and it is. But Democrats are not lily-white when it comes to donations benefitting Indian casinos. Rich Lowry:

According to the website opensecrets.org, Republicans got just 19 percent of Indian gambling donations in 1994. So far in the 2006 election cycle, Republicans are splitting such contributions with Democrats evenly.

Charles, is receiving donations from Indian tribes illegal now? I find it hard to interpret your comments as anything other than throwing more dust in the air to confuse the issue and keep that Republican spin spinning.

Contributions? Bribes? Abramoff? Indian tribes? Oh, it's all too much to untangle, but obviously it's a bipartisan scandal, because it only makes sense that if the Republicans put together a K Street Project they would want to make sure the Democrats shared in the benefits, and I'm sure Abramoff doesn't have any Republican leanings.

Charles: surely what matters, scandal-wise, is not what percentage of contributions from tribes in Indian gaming went to Democrats, but what percentage of contributions from tribes who were clients of Abramoff, and who were making those contributions at his direction, went to Democrats. Contributions from tribes who were not his clients are plainly irrelevant; contributions from tribes who (for instance) had been giving to some candidate for decades before they hired Abramoff, and just continued to do so without getting direction from him, are also irrelevant.

(If I hired Jack Abramoff, which heaven forfend, I suspect I'd probably end up giving money in 2006 to some of the same people I gave money to in 2004, for entirely non-Abramoff-related reasons. So just in case I ever do hire a lobbyist who then goes down in a scandal, let me just say this now: I'd contribute to Wes Clark anyways, and no lobbyist needs to tell me to. The fact that he gets money from me doesn't reflect any lobbyist's instructions.)

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