The Lonely Centrist

A place for reasoned debate about the issues of the day.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

They're Back!

The Washington insiders who gave us McCain-Feingold - now there's a success story - are back with plans to "fix" congress. A central part of the their plan: members should spend more time in Washington - where they can more readily see lobbyists, I guess - and less time in their districts. A wonderful solution only a couple of careerist Washingtonians could dream up. And they also want "a strengthened reporting and disclosure system," apparently on the grounds that Bob Ney would have reported receiving thousands of dollars in casino chips from lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and Duke Cunningham wouldn't have accepted bribes, and William Jefferson wouldn't have been found with thousands in cash hidden in his office refrigerator, if only there had been more detailed "reporting." I like to envision Congressman Jefferson's disclosure form:

Gift: Refrigerator
Value: $95,000

The question average Americans might have is why nobody in Washington is ever held accountable. It's not just members of Congress, but as the careers of these two men show, it's also true - even more true, really - of the career punditry. Tom Mann and Norm Ornstein (and the same can be said of dozens of other denizens of cable TV and the DC "symposia circuit") can be wrong over and over and over again, and remain "respected," influential commentators. One might fairly argue - indeed, Norm Ornstein doesn't seem to shy about arguing, if you read his bio page linked above - that these two men are as responsible as anyone in Washington for the current panoply of ethics laws. Yet here there are, dispassionate experts, enlightening us all once again about how to "fix" a "broken branch."

Maybe that lack of accountability, not only in but out of government, rather than the number of days not spent in Washington, is the real problem.

  • The Skeptic
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  • Going to the Matt
  • Professor Bainbridge
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  • Mystery Pollster
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  • Alexander Chrenkoff
  • Middle East Media Research Institute
  • Right Democrat
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