Monday, April 18, 2005

The Marianas Conservatives

The Moose reminisces on the emergence of the DeLayicans.

Back when he was an elephant, the Moose was one of the early participants in the Wednesday morning conservative strategy meetings hosted by right wing political commissar, Grover Norquist. When the meetings were first initiated, only a handful of conservative activists attended. However, after the Republicans took power in 1994, the attendance significantly increased and business lobbyists began appearing because they realized that this group had actual access to the movers and shakers of Capitol Hill.

One odd item began appearing on the Wednesday Group Meeting - the "well-known" conservative cause of the the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. The truth is that no one in the room had a clue or an interest in the Marianas Islands. However, this U.S. territory was the client of Grover's close buddy, Jack Abramoff. And the Islands became a conservative cause because Jack sold it as a free-market paradise that enjoyed minimal government regulation over working conditions and wages. In other words, it was a haven for sweatshops that enjoyed the benefit of the Made in the USA labels.

At the weekly meetings, Jack and his associates explained that the Marianas were being threatened by Congressmen who sought to impose leviathan regulations on the conservative paradise. Actually, a bi-partisan group of Congressmen wanted to strip the Islands of their "Made in the USA" labels unless it abided by labor protections.

The bait that was offered the conservative activists, congressional staffers and Tom DeLay was lavish junkets to the Marianas involving surf, turf and golf. When the activists returned from the journey they would write favorable op-eds describing the Marianas as a paradise and Congressional folks would protect its interests.

In conservative circles, we would joke about these junkets that they were the right wing equivalent of the '60's left's trips to Cuba to cut sugar cane. Of course, these modern apologists would frolic in the sun instead of labor under it.

The association with this issue signaled to the Moose that the right was in danger of being corrupted with its access to power. Conservative principles morphed into merely flacking for the exploitation of labor for fun and profit. And this was the genesis of DeLay's and Abramoff's loving and mutually beneficial relationship.

Congressman George Miller has called for a congressional investigation into former lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dealings with the commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. Of course, Republicans will not touch this issue. However, reflective conservatives might consider what has become of their movement since it has become linked with the likes of Abramoff and DeLay.

They are not Republicans, they are the fun and sun loving DeLayicans.
-- Posted at 6:07 AM | Link to this post | Email this post