Just two weeks after House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) pledged to pass far-reaching changes to the rules of lobbying on Capitol Hill, House Republican members pushed back hard against those proposals yesterday, charging that their leaders are overreacting to a growing corruption scandal.
In a tense, 3 1/2 hour closed-door session, many Republicans challenged virtually every element of the leadership’s proposal, from a blanket ban on privately funded travel to stricter limits on gifts to an end to gym privileges for lawmakers-turned-lobbyists. Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), a veteran conservative who is seeking a top leadership post, scoffed that Congress knows how to do just two things well — nothing and overreact, according to witnesses.
GOP leaders did withstand a motion to force every leader but Hastert to stand for reelection today. Yet the motion was backed by 85 of the roughly 200 Republicans at the meeting, after leaders predicted that it would attract little support.
Corruption problem? What corruption problem? Jack who? Abramoff? DeLay? Cunningham? Never heard of ’em.
Maybe they can follow up on that beautiful performance yesterday and elect DeLay’s protege, Roy Blunt, as their Majority Leader in the leadership elections today. After all, change and clean government is for pussies.
I guess the organized strategy for dealing with corruption really is limited to trying to pretend the Abramoff scandal was bi-partisan, because these clowns clearly have no intention to clean up their own house. I guess they are leaving that to the voters.
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This has to be an inside the beltway phenomenon, because although we all joke about it, everyone in Congress is not stupid. They really aren’t- these are successful men and women, many with advanced degrees, and really do represent the upper tiers (to some extent) of the intellect in the United States. I simply can not figure out why they do not realize how hopelessly corrupt they look to the rest of us.
The only thing I can come up with is this- everyone of you has run into someone who chain smokes. When that person walks into a room, even if they are not smoking at the time, they carry with them a noxious cloud of smoke and residue from smoking. A room can stink for a good long while after they have left. But here is the thing- they have no idea how much they stink. I can vouch for that, because although I noticed it before when I was a smoker, I really only picked up on it when I quit smoking.
And that is how it has to be in DC- they simply do not recognize how much they stink, how much the odor of corruption is following them. Otherwise, when asked to vote for a ban on all privately funded travel, they would vote for it, rather than pretending the cloud of stink that is following them everywhere is some sort of air freshener.