I've just started reading The Daily Muck on the TPM Cafe site, whose mission is to dig deeper on a story and go beyond the surface. Today's effort, about Rep. John Doolittle of California, is pretty amazing.
Apparently Doolittle gave a lengthy interview to the Sacramento Bee, wherein he acknowledges close contact with just about every Republican scandal target of the last five years:
Here is a man who admits he was close to Jack Abramoff (who pled guilty to, among other things, bribery)…
“Oh, it was definitely a friendship….I guess on a scale of my interaction with other lobbyists, he would have been one of the closest ones, frankly.”
to Tom DeLay (indicted for money laundering)…
Q: You were very close to Tom DeLay.
to Duke Cunningham (pled guilty to bribery)…
“I believed Duke to be above board - what you saw is what you got.”
to Brent Wilkes (defense contractor implicated by Cunningham for bribery)…
“I must tell you Brent Wilkes and his family have always seemed like very fine upstanding people to me.”
and to Ed Buckham (head of Alexander Strategy Group, forced to shut down his firm because he’s a likely target in the Abramoff probe)…
“Ed Buckham was a good friend of mine”
Doolittle seems not to be a very good judge of character.
Wow. How's that for a kickoff to the re-election campaign? "John Doolittle - break the law, he'll be your friend." I'm surprised he didn't go on to say "I always liked Haldemann. He seemed on the up-and-up."
Doolittle is a perfect example of a member of Congress whose long-held opinions and beliefs go out the window when the money men come calling. He sold out his anti-gambling beliefs, for example, by defending his support for the Mississippi Choctaw tribe (an Abramoff client), who are "very free-enterprise oriented." Feel the relativism!
Meanwhile, that Republican reform we've heard so much about in January has turned out to be, um, just talk. Though how could you expect any different? To actually clean up the corruption in Washington would involve mass resignations and re-registering most members of Congress into a new party. That's hard work.