Of Hands and Cookie Jars...
Re: Jack Abramoff and the Congressional 'lobbying' scandal.
The Capital today is awash in a flood of reform legislation. John McCain is at it again, that Lone Ranger of 'reformers' that the press loves so much. We're about to be assailed by yet another wave of 'reform' for a system that's 'hopelessly broke' and 'out of control', and that we, 'the American people' deserve a 'system that's transparent' and 'untainted by the stench of illegal payoffs'.
Don't believe a fucking word.
McCain, for everyone who has forgotten, is the one who brought us 'tenure for politicians' (i.e. Campaign Finance Reform) which does very little to modify or reform the previous system except to make it impossible for an incumbant to be challenged by someone outside of the 'reformed' system. Now he's pushing Lobbying reform, which will basically enable the same people to bribe the same politicians, only this time they'll have to register in two places (instead of the present one) , file more paperwork and perhaps sacrifice a goat to Thor, God of Thunder. The devil will be in the details, but I'd bet (based on McCain's track record) that what smells like reform will simply be the continuation of the status quo with a 527-sized loophole in it.
Of course, the guiltiest scumbag on Capital Hill, Conrad Burns (R-Montana) nearly slipped in his self-created puddle of drool in his zeal to be the first to support McCain. Who is Conrad Burns, you ask? Until I found out he was a senator, I thought he was Homer Simpson's boss. Naturally, the other poster boy for shenanigans, Tom Delay, was front and foremost in this cesspit as well. Makes me proud to be a republican (smell the sarcasm?).
Anyway, the word is that Abramoff is singing like the proverbial birds, and that upwards of 60 (count 'em) Congresscritters (in both the House and Senate, including many a 2008 hopeful, ex-First Lady) may be besmirched by association, or at least, for taking a check with his name on it. Ideally, this kind of thing would be of benefit to the nation at large; we're finding out who the crooks are and if there's wrongdoing, they'll be indicted and jailed. On the other hand, what would that leave us with vis-a-vis the people in Congress?
Why, the ones who weren't even WORTH attempting to bribe.
What a conondrum! You know, the more stuff like this happens, the more you begin to realize that it takes more money to run for Senate or the House than it does to run the average schoolhouse for a year. Priorties are seriously screwed up with regards to our Congressgrubbers, if they continue to believe that their needs are above those of the country as a whole. Because at the end of the day, that's what this entire scandal is abouot: these guys need to constantly raise cash for re-election. If there's a choice for me, Matt Q. Public, between seeing Senator Dumbass re-elected and having an ndian casino somewhere nearby (it's three hours to Atlantic City from here, for Christ's sakes!), then I'm all for the casino. The senator is not necessarily required.
How to fix this mess? Well, I have ideas, of course;
1. Repeal the 17th amendment. That's the one that changed how senators get their jobs. Senators used to be assigned by the governor of each state, now they are elected like every other useless mouth...errr...Honorable Membner of Congress. The rationale behind the 17th amendment was corruption (i.e. governors packed the Senate with their cronies). That's convenient, because I'm citing corruption (Jack Abramoff) as a reason for repealing the sucker.
2. Chuck Campaign Finance Reform (McCain-Feingold). Let incumbants get assialed by interest groups from all sides, 24/7/365. Why should the actions of our Congressional thieves be hidden from the light of day? Let them deal with this crap all the time. Let them defend their records all the time. The rationale behind McCain-Feingold was all those nasty "issue-oriented attack ads" that used to air the day before an election that a candidate didn't have time to defend against. All CFR has done is to ensure that those nasty "issue-oriented attack ads" have merely one source: George Soros.
3. Place a spending limit on campaigns. I know, I know, there are those that will complain that restricting the amount of money a candidate can spend is a restriction of free speech. Well, I'd rather put a set price tag on a seat in the House than have the Jack Abramoff-types set it for me. It would also ensure that a candidate could only raise and spend a strict limit and therefore, wouldn't have to spend every second or third day of his life whoring him or herself.