January 16th, 2006

Boss Coffee

Enough slime for everybody

I haven't had a lot to say about the current influence-peddling scandals in Washington, since the subject seems to be getting beaten to death in the blogosphere by everyone else. It is pretty clear that Abramoff spread his clients' money generously among both parties, so you can't really paint this as a Republican scandal - when the Senate Minority Leader has a piece of the action, it's pretty clear that both parties need to go stand in the corner a while before being sent to bed without their dinners.

I did sign on to the Appeal from Center-Right Bloggers, in the somewhat faint hope that it'll serve as a shot across the bow, much like the Porkbusters effort. I'm not encouraged by all the noise about lobbyist reform, though, which seems like a Band-aid solution. The real solution is going to lie in getting all the money and power out of Washington. For years, a big part of the Republicans' message has been that the Federal government does too much; there are many agencies in D.C. doing things that should rightly be done by state agencies if they're done at all. Unfortunately, now that the GOP is in the majority, they've fallen prey to the lure of buying votes with pork, and the worst part of that is that it encourages the cynics who are always ready to yell, "See! See! They're both the same! There's no difference between the parties!"

That's a long-term and somewhat utopian objective, though. For now, I think the best we can hope for is more transparency in the appropriations process and a ban on earmarks; maybe line-item budgeting as well, since the Supremes seem disinclined to approve a line-item veto. I am also hoping that John Shadegg wins the Majority Leader spot, since he seems more serious about controlling immigration and keeping to the hard line on other issues of importance to the party base. Which is why these Congressmen were elected, after all.