Thursday, June 23, 2005

Tammany on the Potomac

Talking Points Memo has a running investigation of Randy "Duke" Cunningham's corrupt dealing that is worth keeping track of. The story is that Cunningham sold his home at a grossly inflated price to a businessman who subsequently procured lucrative DOD contracts. Straight up pay for play graft. In a recent post TPM's Josh Marshall speaks to the lack of support for an ethics investigation by the Dems in Congress. Check out Tammany on the Potomac:

On Wednesday, the Post's Jeff Birnbaum had a story on the explosion in the lobbying trade since 2000. If the Dems want their knock-out campaign cudgel for 2006, Jeff provided it: 'The number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled since 2000 to more than 34,750 while the amount that lobbyists charge their new clients has increased by as much as 100 percent.'

In explaining these developments Birnbaum writes: 'The lobbying boom has been caused by three factors, experts say: rapid growth in government, Republican control of both the White House and Congress, and wide acceptance among corporations that they need to hire professional lobbyists to secure their share of federal benefits.'

Now, a daily newspaper man works under different constraints and has a different brief than someone in my shoes. And this is what my late advisor Jack Thomas would have called a crackerjack piece. But I think I can cover this ground even more simply.

How's this? In Washington today, everything is for sale so there are a lot more salesmen. And there's so much to sell they're all getting higher commissions.

It may lack the granularity of Jeff's explanation. But that is the essence of the matter. That's why there are so many more lobbyists. The whole place is corrupt to the core. It's Tammany on the Potomac.

This fits nicely with my belief that the Democrats need to learn to be the opposition party —and take aim at entrenched, corrupt power. They need to connect with the issues of liberty and freedom to connect to the independent bent of American voters. Attacking Republican corruptions should be an obvious winner if they do adopt this voice.

Consider the fact that New Hampshire is trending Democratic. Then consider the New Hampsire motto, "Live Free of Die". See the connection?

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