Let’s stipulate that both parties use political machinations not to advance ideas but to maintain power and that members of both sides seek election so that they can feather either their ego or their financial nests.
But having said that, what is happening today reminds one why American politics is so revolting. Republicans, finding themselves in a morass of political, financial and sexual corruption, try to wipe the mud off their faces by flinging it back at the Democrats. The trouble, as intelligent people ought to realize, is that offenses are not always the same. And only the guiltier claim they are – abetted by pernicious cable television networks positively cackling today that “both sides are in trouble.”
One party may have some dirt under its fingernails. The other emits a particularly odious stench of hypocrisy bathed in sleaze and encrusted with filth. The Republican Party has engaged in a 12-year campaign to subvert the politicial process itself, shattering centuries-old congressional rules, blackmailing the lobbying industry and vilifying as traitors Democrats who disagree with them. They came to Washington to reform government and eventually to strangle it. To strangle government, first they had to make the public, including opponents, believe that government is so intrinsically evil and incompetent that it could not be trusted to do anything. They succeeded at that, while secretly expanding government and ripping it off for their own ends at the same time they engaged in the oldest of betrayals.
Gingrich, Livingston, DeLay, Abramoff, Ney, Cunningham, Foley, Weldon, Hastert, Sherwood. You name ‘em – a gallery of hypocritical rogues.
The response? Well Democrat William Jefferson stuffed $90,000 in cash into his freezer. Barney Frank had a male prostitute working out of his house 20 years ago. Harry Reid did a funny land transaction and used campaign funds to tip the staff at his residential hotel. Iraq? Iran? North Korea? Oh, those were Clinton’s fault.
The reality is that anyone in political power is tempted to misuse that power for personal ends, and it not a partisan thing. Another reality is that if anyone ever debated actual issues, each side would have some good solutions.
But the way politics is practiced now is like how Internet chat rooms operate. And Internet chat rooms are modeled upon the playground sandbox.
“Look at what you did!”
“ Yeah, but you did, it too.”
“No, I didn’t, not as bad as you, anyway.”
“Doesn’t matter, I’m pissing in the sandbox.”
The Republicans control all three branches of government, and as anyone who has read Greek tragedy could have predicted,when you get too high and mighty, you are going to fall, and fall because of your own inherent character flaws.
Today, as I write, Republicans are refusing to deal openly and honestly with their rogues and falling back on their kindergarten natures of saying, “Nanny Nanny Poo Poo.”
This kind of juvenile discourse is intended to hide the fact that the Republican Party has systematically plundered the budget, the Constitution and the sense of comity that had until now made American politics the model that Bush wants to ram down the throats of oil-producing countries.
No, revoking habeas corpus is not the same as laundering some real estate.
Most people can make judgments about what is important and who is the bigger danger to democracy. And unless Republicans manage to suppress minority votes again, or arrange another terrorist attack, the elephants will be out on their asses in a couple of weeks.