***BREAKING: A Federal judge has approved the immunity grant to Monica Goodling from the House Judiciary Committee. More here from ThinkProgress. Funny how Don Henley's Dirty Laundry video above fits nicely with that as well, isn't it?***
Realistically, I know that our current political system operates on vast sums of money. And that in order to be competitive in today's political environment, equally vast sums of money have to be raised. In order to make any changes, you have to have a majority elected, and to get that majority at the moment you have to go back to the whole money question. I have heard it chapter and verse, all the rationales and the reasoning and the arguments pro and con, and read all the court decisions and the free speech debates and everything else in between.
House Republicans are taking nothing for granted. Their leaders last month sent out a 28-page instruction kit laying out exactly what rank-and-file members have to do to reach the dinner's multimillion-dollar goal. The kit includes a list of more than 225 companies, trade associations and lobbying firms that are proven benefactors of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the House GOP's campaign organization.
The document even tells lawmakers how they should phrase their telephone calls. A page with "suggested talking points for House Members" includes this: "Following a disappointing loss of our majorities in the House and Senate, we need to restore the faith of the American voters in us. We heard their message this past November that we need to re-commit our priorities for lower taxes, securing our boarders [sic], supporting our troops and fiscal responsibility."
Then it recommends the lawmakers add: "The odds are against Republicans as we take up the fight to strengthen and rebuild our majority" — something Republicans do not generally admit publicly.
Then again, the document was not meant for publication. Dated April 10, it led off with a memorandum from Reps. Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Joe Wilson (S.C.), co-chairmen of the President's Dinner. "The opposition will be fully funded," the opening page says, "so we must set our fundraising sights high in order to be competitive."
Setting the sights high means a lot more pressure — and in politics, a call from a sitting lawmaker is about as much pressure as can be exerted.
No one with whom I ever speak about this ever likes it. No one likes the way things are working right now — well, except for the people whose power bases are propped up by the current system and the lobbyists who make their money cozying up to the powerbrokers and keeping them in their power chairs. Until the entire system is changed, operating under the current rules is required in order to get enough of a majority to force change…but that doesn't mean I have to like it. And if anyone thinks that this particular GOP "pass the collection plate" gluttonous feast isn't all about Roy Blunt maintaining his status quo hold on power in the House by staying atop the Republican party money pedestal? Well, wake up and smell the latte.
It isn't just Republicans, but the entire Beltway that gets mired in this money obsession. But the waft of corruption from Jack Abramoff and pals still hangs heavy over the GOP leadership, and with all those unanswered questions — and a whole lot of pent up resentment among folks who got the high pressure sales job for campaign fundage and not much in return? This could get interesting.
The fact that this heavy-handed, money grubbing script saw the light of day in public? That is an intriguing little twist, isn't it? I'd say Rep. Blunt overstepped his shakedown boundaries and someone is pissed (or several someones, given the number of quotes in the article from business leaders who no longer seem excited to belly up to the GOP gimme money trough). Or perhaps Rep. Blunt is experiencing a leadership takeover attempt from the inside? (Is it, perhaps, Howdy Doody time? I've been hearing some rumors about Mr. Putnam and his long-term personal ambitions…if I were Blunt, I'd watch my back.)
This sounds sick — perhaps now would be the time for an injection of subpoenacillin? (H/T to twolf1, from whom I shamelessly stole that line.)