There are two very consistent trends in regards to ongoing investigations related to the Abramoff scandal:
- Conservatives widely and swiftly condemned any members of the Republican Party who were suspected of taking money from Abramoff under questionable circumstances.
- Liberals widely and switfly condemned all Republicans while insisting that no Democrats had any part of this scandal.
If you go back and read some of my old posts, you’ll see that I too was very upset when this scandal broke. My main point was, basically, that I expect this kind of behavior from Democrats, not from Republicans.
Regardless, much of the money spread around by Abramoff through his clients went to the GOP, and as Republicans are clearly in power here in Washington, they will bear the greatest brunt of this scandal. And with that, I’m perfectly satisfied.
For those to whom much is given, much is expected.
At the same time, I remain quite amazed at how liberals are in what seems to me to be a state of ferocious denial over the part that some Democrats seem to have played. And suspect number one, according to a source in the DOJ, is none other than Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, whom we know to have taken about $66,000.00 in donations from Abramoff clients over a four to six year period.
DNC Chairman, Howard Dean, has been appearing on every talk show and giving every interview possible with the message that “Nobody got anything out of the Democrats from Jack Abramoff…” Now, while I’m not sure that this sentence makes much sense, I have heard him speak on this topic often enough to know that he too furiously denies any dealings with Abramoff. “This is a Republican scandal,” he and so many other liberals say, repeating it like a mantra in their hopes to drown out the facts.
The other comment I hear consistently goes something like, “of course, the first thing Republicans are going to say is that ‘Democrats did it too!’” Well, it’s not the first thing that I said, but, yes, Democrats took money from Abramoff as well. That is a fact, so why try and deny it? And please note that this comment reveals two important things about the attitudes of those making this kind of statement:
- We are openly and honestly admitting that, based on the reported facts so far, some Republicans have done wrong.
- The contrasting response from Democrats shows a significant degree of dishonesty.
But just try to mention such things, especially if you are a member of the MSM, and behold the fury that will burst forth upon you. Specifically, I point to the case of Deborah Howell, who was a blogger for the Washington Post and who had the unmitigated gall to say that:
Schmidt quickly found that Abramoff was getting 10 to 20 times as much [in fees] from Indian tribes as they had paid other lobbyists. And he had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties.
The liberal response to this statement, as Ms Howell would later describe, was immediate and impassioned:
Nothing in my 50-year career prepared me for the thousands of flaming e-mails I got last week over my last column, e-mails so abusive and many so obscene that part of The Post’s Web site was shut down.
That column praised The Post for breaking the story on lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s dealings, for which he has pleaded guilty to several felony counts. The column clearly pointed out that Abramoff is a Republican and dealt mainly with Republicans, most prominently former House majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas.I wrote that he gave campaign money to both parties and their members of Congress. He didn’t. I should have said he directed his client Indian tribes to make campaign contributions to members of Congress from both parties.
My mistake set off a firestorm. I heard that I was lying, that Democrats never got a penny of Abramoff-tainted money, that I was trying to say it was a bipartisan scandal, as some Republicans claim. I didn’t say that. It’s not a bipartisan scandal; it’s a Republican scandal, and that’s why the Republicans are scurrying around trying to enact lobbying reforms.
But there is no doubt about the campaign contributions that were directed to lawmakers of both parties. Records from the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Public Integrity show that Abramoff’s Indian clients contributed money to 195 Republicans and 88 Democrats between 1999 and 2004. The Post also has copies of lists sent to tribes by Abramoff with his personal directions on which members were to receive what amounts.
Now, while Ms. Howell was quick to state that she too believes this is a Republican scandal, she was also quick to underscore the fact that their investigation revealed ties to both parties. But the point to remember here is the immediate, vehement, even abusive response of liberals to the merest hint that some Democrats received funds as well from Abramoff’s clients at Abramoff’s direction.
Despite any assertions to the contrary, this is, indeed, a Washington scandal.
But liberals in general and the DNC in particular continue to deny that Democrats received funds from Abramoff or his clients. Dream on … the facts speak differently.
So which strategy is better, fessing up to your troubles, admitting there is a problem, and addressing that problem quickly and decisively, or shouting to the world and, even more important, to voters, that there is no problem despite what the facts say.
This is the current dichotomy we see between the two parties, related to their post-Abramoff strategies. The GOP is aggressively attacking the problem while the DNC, and their angry-left supporters, aggressively attack anyone who dares to suggest that this is anything other than a Republican scandal.
This is a bad idea. Worse, it’s a terrible political strategy. And that makes sense coming from angry-left bloggers, but from Howard Dean and others? I find it just amazing that there are people who earn six figures and more in that party, yet this is the best they can do.
They’d better be careful … too many more screaming denials of wrongdoing and average people are apt to begin wondering if the DNC isn’t trying to hide something.
That’s what the DNC is accusing the White House of right now, isn’t it? Democrats are so busy asserting that the White House’s unwillingness to disclose all ties to Abramoff is a sign of guilt, they’ve forgotten that people are likely to assume the same is true of the DNC.
But here’s the difference, President Bush is not up for reelection in 2006.