Monday, February 05, 2007

Harry Reid and the culture of corruption Harry Reid and the culture of corruption Harry Reid and the culture of corruption makes the point that we haven't seen the last of the "Culture of Corruption" in Congress. Indeed, it is obvious now that the American people traded up here, from Republican amateurs, to the Democratic professionals, when it comes to Congressional corruption.

So, we now have a Senate Majority Leader who has more side deals going than he can probably keep track of, and has made himself and his four boys rich through the legislative process. The Senate President pro tem was known as "Senator Pork" the last time the Democrats had the Senate (as well as "Sheets" Byrd for his KKK affiliation). Over on the House side, most of the leadership there looks worse, with the Speaker having had serious problems filling sensitive committee positions, and in particular, chairmanships, due to a lack of relatively clean candidates in her senior members. We were ringside observers of her running afoul of the CBC for pushing Jefferson off Appropriations, given the tagged bribe money found in his freezer by the FBI. They were pushing the Speaker to appoint an impeached federal judge to chair the Intelligence Committee in exchange. When the fire from that got too hot, she appointed somone apparently almost as corrupt. Probably at least half of her major committe chairs have some ethical or corruption questions hanging over them.

The problem for the Democrats is that they controlled Congress for almost 60 years, and that led to a Culture of Corruption there that the Republicans were able to exploit in 1994. The most senior Democrats in both Houses come from that time and culture, and these are precisely the ones who have the seniority for the leadership positions in both Houses. The problem appears worse in the House because turnover there is lower due to political gerrymandering every 10 years that results in mostly safe seats across the country. It appears worst in the Congressional Black Caucus, mostly I suspect because the minority majority districts these members represent were gerrymandered to be even safer than the Congressional average.

I do expect to see the Republicans retake the House next election for just this reason. The Democrats retook the House based on attacks on Republican corruption. So, they took a bunch of Republican leaning districts that aren't going to stay safely in their hands. It would have been tough w/o all the corruption at the top of Congress, based on party leanings. But the corruption of the Democratic leadership will make it that much harder for them to retain that House. The Senate though should stay safely Democratic for at least one more election, since the Republicans will be defending a lot more vulnerable seats in 2008 than the Democrats will (2006 was the year that the Republicans should have picked up Senate seats - instead they lost them).


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