Friday, January 27, 2006

The Harder They Fall

Republicans are scrambling to clean their House -- but the dirt won't wash off

Great article in Rolling Stone by Matt Taibbi. Check out the intro:

"The Republicans are now and always have been the party of reform," said a grinning David Dreier, surveying the crowd of journalists in the congressional radio and TV gallery.

The nattily dressed House Rules committee chairman then paused, as if to give someone in the crowd a chance to chuck a bottle at his head. No one did. So he went on: "I see this," he said, "as a wonderful new opportunity for us . . ."

Again, he paused. No bottles, no rotten tomatoes, no clouds of flying dog-shit landing with a slap! on his receding forehead. Given what the Republican leadership might have expected, at a press conference unveiling a "lobby reform" package in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal (what Dreier meant by "this"), the event was a smashing success.

The entire piece is very good but the barbs directed at Dreier shine:

So in the end, to whom did the Republicans turn to be their white knight? David Dreier, a man whose very first act in last year's Congress was to write a Rules package that not only sought to rewrite the congressional rules to allow the majority leader to continue service while under indictment for a felony but also castrated the Ethics committee, changing its structure in such a way that the Republicans could unilaterally quash any further investigations of DeLay.

As chair of the Rules committee -- a murky body whose chairman has the power to rewrite bills entirely before they are voted on -- Dreier moreover was presumably the gatekeeper to much of the midnight shenanigans involving earmarks and last-minute insertions of paid-for corporate goodies in big pieces of legislation. Perhaps more than any other Republican, Dreier was a symbol of the institutional corruption that allowed DeLay to almost single-handedly manipulate Congress like a marionette for the Abramoffs of the world. As one Democratic staffer said to me, "Putting Dreier in charge of this is the biggest f#@%ing joke you can possibly imagine."

And since this article is about Republican corruption it's no surprise John Doolittle receives a mention.

[Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing]

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