Sunday, December 12, 2004

G.O.P. Revolution, R.I.P.

As one of the Moose's favorite philosophers, the Who's Peter Townshend aptly said, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

That is what came to the Moose's mind as he read the important cover story in the new Weekly Standard, "A Lobbyist's Progress: Jack Abramoff and the end of the Republican Revolution" by Andrew Ferguson. This is mandatory reading for all Mooseketeers. It is an excellent summation of the most incredible and unfolding Abramoff/Scanlon/Reed/Norquist/Ney/DeLay Indian Gambling Scandal.

What is particularly important about this piece is where it appears - in one of the flagship organs of conservatism, the Weekly Standard. Both the Standard and Ferguson deserve praise for their intellectual integrity for running and writing this article. Just consider these two passages -

"None of this lucrative representation--I hurry to note--would raise an eyebrow among the capital's well-heeled political class. Democratic lobbyists have fattened off Washington for years. Abramoff was merely the first Republican to discover that pretending to advance the interests of conservative small-government could, for a lobbyist, be as insanely lucrative as pretending to advance the interests of liberal big-government; in reality, of course, lobbyists advance their own interests above all. It helped, too, when conservatives revised their philosophical commitments to embrace the nonsensical neologism "big government conservatism." Given this ideological elasticity it was only a matter of time before Republicans achieved "parity" on K Street as they have in the country at large. No K Street firm can long endure without being half-Republican--thanks in large part to the exertions of Jack Abramoff."

And this passage nails it -

"Stripped of its peculiar grossness, Abramoff's Indian story really is just another story of business as usual in the world of Washington lobbying, and the longer hearings like McCain's drag on, the more likely it is that even the Republican "grass-roots" will wise up. That closed, parasitic culture of convenience--with its revolving doors, front groups, pay-offs, expense-account comfort, and ideological cover stories--is as essential to the way Republican Washington works, ten years after the Revolution, as ever it was to Democratic Washington."

Over the past several years, the Moose witnessed the perversion of the Republican revolution up close and personal. He saw the young revolutionaries transformed into prostitutes for money and power. It is a classic tale of those who came to do good and did very well. The critique of conservatism has always been that all its talk of "freedom" is merely a cover for the pursuit of profit unburdened by morality. This scandal is emblematic of either the perversion of conservatism or else its essence.

As never before, this scandal underscores the need for a Reform Party. Will the donkey seize the opportunity?
-- Posted at 11:21 AM | Link to this post | Email this post