Regarding the Abramoff Scandal
A couple of pieces that came out today that I found to be of interest. First was this from National Review and second was this from CNS News.
What made the second article interesting is that I heard the former speaker was on the Laura Ingraham show this morning talking about the same thing. The audio from this morning can be found here.
"I think it's very important to understand that this is not just one person doing one bad thing," Gingrich added, and it isn't "about lobbyist corruption, either. You can't have a corrupt lobbyist unless you have a corrupt member [of Congress] or a corrupt staff" involved."This is a team effort," Gingrich said to laughter from the audience."I'll tell you what this city's first reaction is going to be," he stated. Lawmakers will "turn the scandal into lobbyist bashing, so the same system on the Hill that is unhealthy will protect itself by passing a narrowly drawn anti-lobbyist provision while the same people go to the same [Political Action Committee] fundraisers to raise the same money with the same cronies in the same manner."
That was the part that struck me. That the Hill will do whatever it can to shuffle this "out of sight". They already did that once when they gave us the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance "reform". McCain-Feingold didn't reform a thing. It simple too our ability to give to the candidates of our choice and gave the deep pockets (the 527's) unlimited access to the power!
"This is a profound problem, not just a surface-level scandal," Gingrich said. As an example of the unfair advantage wealthy incumbents have in the electoral process, Gingrich referred to New Jersey Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. "One person spent $100 million to first buy a Senate seat and then buy a governorship while voting for the McCain-Feingold bill to limit every middle-class citizen to $2,500 in an election," Gingrich said."There's something inherently wrong with that," Gingrich charged.
Both the NRO article and Speaker Gingrich came to the same conclusion:
"DeLay can do his part by forswearing any ambition to return to the leadership until this matter is resolved. It may be necessary for the House Republican Conference to discipline other of its members — we have Rep. Bob Ney (R., Ohio) in particular in mind — as evidence of their involvement with Abramoff dictates. (Of course, it is also possible that Justice-department prosecutors have overreached, and will have a problem establishing that typical Washington influence peddling crossed the line into criminality.) Finally, Republicans should embrace a tough reform package that tightens up on lobbying disclosure and cracks down on the earmarked spending that is bait for corrupting lobbyists. A majority that deserves to stay a majority must demonstrate that it is capable of policing itself."
"Therefore, Gingrich's advice to the GOP this year was to return to the strategy that proved so successful 12 years ago. "Republicans should run as reformers who want to make government more effective and return to the concept of the balanced budget," which Congress accomplished for four years in the 1990s."
The former speaker is spot on here. As he said on the radio this morning...the base that supports the Republican party is not the people that want ear marks and pork barrell spending. We want smaller government and more personal freedom. He said that the Republican base needs to marshall our disgust at this and force our representatives to bring real reform to the system. We need significant campaign finance reform. In my mind that means repealing McCain Feingold first and foremost! Let's get the power back in the hands of the people and out of the hands of the special interest groups NOW!
Update - The Wall Street Journal chimes in on the issue today.