"The spectacle of hypocrisy, impunity and corruption engulfing the Republican Congress has its origins in its rise in 1994, extolled as the party's "revolution". First came the Republican Lenin - the speaker, Newt Gingrich - determined to annihilate his enemies and extirpate the "counter-culture". But after twice causing parts of the federal government to shut down and being cited for ethics violations, Gingrich was forced to resign, on the eve of Clinton's impeachment trial, by fellow Republicans. (They had private knowledge: Gingrich promptly abandoned his second wife for the mistress he had maintained on the House payroll for years).
The next speaker, Bob Livingston, resigned almost at once when the pornographer Larry Flynt threatened to release recordings of Livingston moaning in the company of his mistress, which Flynt had purchased from the scorned woman. Into that vacuum the most powerful figure in the House, the then whip and later majority leader Tom DeLay (nicknamed "the exterminator" for his pest control business), inserted a dull, reliable frontman - Dennis Hastert, known as "coach" for supervising school wrestling in small-town Illinois, his greatest previous distinction.
DeLay was the Republican Stalin, a ruthless consolidator and centraliser. His K Street project forged an iron triangle of lobbyists, special interests and Republicans that he believed would rule forever. But DeLay overreached and was indicted for corruption. Hastert was left to fend for himself.
The concatenation of scandals is shattering the last shards of "revolution". "Reform" has metastasised into the Abramoff scandal, "culture war" into the Foley cover-up. And Hastert has transmuted from omnipotent Brezhnev into ghostly Chernenko, presiding over the final decrepit stage.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
the final decrepit stage
Posted by lukery at 10/19/2006 04:36:00 PM