Since 2004 I have been one of the many bloggers posting Diaries over at Daily Kos (known in some quarters as the Great Orange Satan). I was a bit of a specialist over there and most of my work concerned writing about my research into the Jack Abramoff scandal and corruption in Washington. I wrote under the pen name <a href=”http://www.dengre.dailykos.com”>dengre</a>. Here, I’ll use Dennis G, as is the local custom.
I started researching Abarmoff and his web of corruption back in 1999. In 1998 I was working to stop the sweatshops, human trafficking and labor abuse on the far away Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, a US Territory in the Western Pacific. It looked like a bi-partisan Bill had the votes to pass the House and the Senate and President Clinton was eager to sign it. It never came up for a vote and I wanted to find out why. That led to Abramoff and digging into his career, patrons, allies and associates led me to understand the very real and systematic Republican Culture of Corruption in Washington. Jack’s in jail, but the system of corruption lives on. It is an unexamined scandal, but more on that later.
Now some might say that all politicians are corrupt and/or that there is not a difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to corruption. While appealing in a cynical sort of way, it just is not true. There is a marked difference between the types of scandals and corruption that snare each Party. And there is a big difference in the way that each Party confronts scandal (see Vitter, David and Spitzer, Eliot as a point of reference). This is an issue I’ll dig into some over the coming weeks.
We are in an important time for our Nation and it matters what we do as we confront the problems we face. I think there is a big difference between the two Parties and the Republicans have proven that they are incompetent and far too morally compromised to lead, govern or even help solve the problems that we face as a result of the last time that they were in charge.
There is a big difference between the two Parties when it comes to the language, memes, ideas, spin, talking points and actions that they offer and I think it is important to be aware of those differences when discussing the daily panics of our modern political life.
When you embrace the other side’s talking points, memes, rhetoric and even conspiracy theories to score points in policy debates—you have lost the debate. And that is just what far too many in the Democratic Party (left, right and center) have been doing as of late. The effect is to divide the Democratic coalition and reinforce wing-nut messaging to Independents and swing voters. The stalled HCR debate and the special election in Massachusetts are by-products of this trend (IMHO).
Now, there is plenty that one could and should criticize Democrats for doing or not doing. This is true from President Obama on down. I just think one should be able to make their critique without buying into wing-nut frames/memes like “Democrats are always weak” or “Democrats are thugs” or “You can not trust Government” or Government is the problem” or “Democrats are more/just as corrupt as Republicans ever were” and so on.
I grew tired of this trend over at Dkos as various factions on multiple sides of the argument decided to spend way too much time and energy taking the fight to each other. And while there is a lot of great work being done over there, I decided that <a href=”http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/1/22/828646/-Goodbye-for-now.-Its-time-to-walk-away…-(Update)”>I needed to walk away</a> and do something else.
Over the weekend, John invited me to write here at Balloon Juice and so here I am.
I’m glad to have a place to post. Some will be short and there will be a few long ones with many details below the fold. I look forward to your feedback and discussion.
I want to thank John for inviting me to join the gang.