Wednesday, January 11, 2006

"Ethics Is More of A Burden Than A Privilege"

Who has time for ethics and accountabillity anyway?

...It's also clear that the House GOP isn't the only congressional party that needs a leadership shakeup. There's a good case that both parties in both houses would benefit from a new look at the top. The lineup seems a far cry from the days of such giants as Sens. Mike Mansfield and Bob Dole or Speakers Sam Rayburn and Thomas "Tip" O'Neill.The events that prompted DeLay's departure began when he ran afoul of House ethics rules.

His departure was ensured when Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle won indictments on charges stemming from the Republican's role in raising funds for the 2002 elections. The indictment, derided by many Republicans as partisan, triggered a GOP rule that an indicted party leader had to step down. DeLay's allies tried last year to lift the rule but bowed to pressure from other Republicans.

The underlying problem, though, stems from the political machine DeLay and his colleagues built with allies in Washington's lobbying community. It produced a torrent of campaign contributions but also apparently led to potentially criminal misuses of their power.Individuals implicated in misdeeds by lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a key figure in the GOP machine, will ultimately face their own legal issues. But ties between the operation and the current House leadership require more than merely replacing one person.After all, Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, the top candidate to replace DeLay, also was involved in the K Street Project - the name for a DeLay-inspired campaign to demand that lobbying firms hire loyal Republicans - as was rival John Boehner of Ohio, although there is no evidence yet that either did anything illegal. Speaker Dennis Hastert was DeLay's deputy before the Texan helped install him as speaker in 1998.

If Republicans are serious about changing their public image, they'll opt for a clean sweep of their leadership. The reasons for changing other congressional leaders have more to do with political ineptitude.

.... Assailing the GOP's "culture of corruption" and its handling of Iraq will go only so far.

...On Capitol Hill, parties don't change leaders until they have to. That's why the House Republicans alone are going to have a new election. But that doesn't mean they're the only ones who could benefit from new leadership.

Yesss, the House Republicans are "choosing" to go it alone in electing a new leader. So forthright and pro-reform, them republicans. Not like them tricksy democrats....tricksy, false democrats...the reid, the peloisi...they hurts us.


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