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Bringing Down the House

....and much of the Senate, and not a few in the executive branch as well

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, January 04, 2006.

It is said that Jack Abramoff, who today pled guilty to a fourth felony in Florida, can finger up to sixty Congressmen, Senators, staffers, functionaries, and maybe higher who became his puppets, as he led a life of rather pointless criminality, in imitation of his Godfather fixation. This is bigger than Watergate and the Teapot Dome combined. Many think it is the end of conservative power in this country, that it will destroy the GOP. Could be.

Or not. First, you need to reflect that it is the Bush Department of Justice prosecuting. The Bushies themselves are not political conservatives, they’re a gene pool of courtiers who keep their digits damp to the thermals of political life, and threw their saddles across the conservative movement in the Reagan years, but they can swing, in moderation, from both sides of the cultural plate. Our current President’s over-compensatory toughness and stay the course strength is merely a comic reading of Ronald Reagan’s image and Teddy Roosevelt’s charisma, neither of which Dubya has in clubs, much less spades.

The modern conservative movement is made up of three parts. Palpable patriarchal zanies, mostly Christian, quite hypocritical, and panting for material prestige in this sphere; feudal commercial theorists whose economics are composed of mercantilism class restrictions and benefits to obtain their desired heaven on earth; and third, mere camp followers like the Bushes, who are simply attracted to power and pander to it, and construct personalities to justify expressed belief. Here you find the Country Club tough guys who never serve in the military but scream for war, and the purse lipped matrons who burn for revenge against all happier then themselves and who laugh at their socially burqaed sisters’ tightly restricted lives of taboos and ritual which they shelter under supposed concern for children. What united them was a belief they were morally superior to those who voted for a President who’d rut in the Oval, and would still be welcomed back by wife and child without divorce or penance.

Of course, they will eventually say, it’s because of the Jews. Isn’t it always? Or one, anyway, Mr. Abramoff. Keep your ears and eyes alert for the first signs of anti-Semitic anger from the far right churches who adore bigot Pat Robertson, but, really, Abramoff didn’t exactly indoctrinate choir boys and virginal maidens in the ways of greed and prestige, he merely cashed in their obvious moaning for it.

It doesn’t help the GOP that Abramoff essentially took advantage of currently wealthy but not yet worldly Native American tribes and their parochial concerns. Abramoff actually represented tribes fighting each other for Casino rights, and pocketed twenty millions of their dollars, and left clear evidence of his crimes and vulgar racism in reams of emails and messages that came into the hands of prosecutors, fortunately for the Republic. Now, about those emails.

Jack Abramoff’s primary partner in much of the bribery and outright fraud was Michael Scanlan, one of those preppy GOP staffers who slither through Washington. Scanlan was engaged to a young lady named Emily Miller, also a staffer, who once tried to interrupt a Colin Powell interview on Meet the Press in a delusion of self-importance. But Scanlan had pulled a Jude Law, and had an affair with – wait for it! – a manicurist and proposed marriage to her as well. When he broke off with Miller, it was apparently the day reason departed at the Meet the Press studio. She soon found another way to nail her ex, because he had told her all about Abramoff and their scams and knew where all the emails were and how to get them. She did, turned them in to prosecutors, and is a key witness against Scanlan, who caved and fingered DeLay and Abramoff, who yesterday caved and will be a cooperative witness against up to sixty politicians in return for a prison term reduced to about a decade.

So, folks, that’s how Jack Abramoff was brought down. Not from someone with high ideals, not by someone who felt law and order was important, or from a sense of Judeo-Christian morality, but from someone perfectly willing to knowingly marry a crook for her own enrichment, and who only turned on her fiancé when he became someone else’s. A lowly manicurist to boot. Some things cannot be borne, I guess.

So far, so pretty good in that it utilizes so many of these conservative stereotypes except the religious angle but it’s there. Ralph Reed, the very sort of diabetic-inducing hypocritical huckster on the express slide to Hell if the Bible is true, is the former founder of the Christian Coalition and a current candidate for Lt. Governor of Georgia. Apparently, the emails and evidence are conclusive that Reed bribed and sleazed his own way around, and like Tom DeLay, who’s so crooked Abramoff is only part of his legal horror, his career is over.

We should not but be happy that so many really terrific people are set to take the perp walk. People like Reed and DeLay, Congressmen Pombo, Cornyn, and Ney, Grover Norquist, Senators Burns and Dorgan, all GOP, are among those sweating Abramoff’s revelations. And Emily Miller did a very good thing for the basest of reasons: revenge because another woman might benefit from all that illegal money.