Saturday, February 18, 2006

Doolittle: Corruption Scandal is Troubling

I woke up to two unusual occurances this morning: a light dusting of snow and a front page, smack under the masthead article on John T. Doolittle in the Sacramento Bee. Good interview and great writing by David Whitney.

Before taking a look into the some of the more interesting aspects of this hour-long interview, let's consider Doolittle's admission that he is officially announcing his ninth candidacy here in the district sometime next week. Where and when will this campaign kick off happen? It's a secret apparently. I looked for this information on Doolittle's official website. No mention. In fact, the website seems frozen in time to before Abramoff's plea bargin.
On the press page there is not one 2006 listing. This does not give the appearance of someone enthusiastically approaching a congressional campaign convinced that he will be unscathed by the Abramoff investigation. Quite the contrary.

The headline of today's article is "Doolittle: Scandal is Troubling." I imagine the fact that he's facing a primary challenger, Auburn Mayor Mike Holmes must also be a bit troubling. Ney certainly isn't too cheery about his Republican challenger.

During this interview, Doolittle describes his connections with Abramoff, Delay and Wilkes (Duke Cunningham's main sugar daddy) as "friendships." The fact that major figures from all three current corruption scandals sought his "friendship" is puzzling to Doolittle, as is his misjudgement of them as good Republicans and nice guys. While I think they buddied up to him because of his power position on the House Appropriations Committee, Doolittle, at least when talking about Abramoff, attributes their mutal attraction as due to their deep religious beliefs and conservativism. Basically, geeky Doolittle never questioned his new popularity with big-time lobbyists as he rose in power (6th in GOP House Leadership). Well, I suppose it's better late than never, but many of us have been questioning his taste in "friends" for a while now.

And, unsurprisingly, Doolittle a strict adherant to the GOP media guidebook plays the "victim" card:
"I don't blame Tom DeLay for this," Doolittle said. He said he considers DeLay and himself to be "victims" of a distorted, politically inspired campaign to discredit them.
The Sac Bee has made the full transcript of the interview available.

The interview ends with this:
Q: Do you think any of this is going to impact your re-election?

A: Oh! I think it's safe to say it is impacting my election, sure. I've had about a million dollars' worth of negative publicity attacking my character, my wife's character. I think as things move on, people will have to assess for themselves whether this is a partisan attack or whether this is legitimate. I know how I feel about it. I guess time will tell.

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