Friday, July 21, 2006


"Culture of Corruption" Comeback?

Linking to a Washington Post article on the ramifications of Ralph Reed's loss in Georgia, Josh Marshall wonders whether the corruption angle might actually be more of a factor in this year's races than previously thought:

Now, I know that national polls haven't registered too strongly on the issue of corruption per se. And readers might fairly wonder whether I have some professional investment in the issue of corruption, given that I founded a site dedicated to muckraking. But I've wondered for a while whether the conventional wisdom VandeHei is stating here is really accurate. It seems to me that the constant stories of indictments and pay-offs and lobbying scams have, all together, had a strong atmospheric effect, weighing heavily on the popularity of the Republican majority. When we see the GOP double digits behind the Democrats and voter perceptions that they're out-of-touch, not serving the voters' interests, self-seeking, etc., I think the corruption issue has had more to do with that than people realize.
I'm not sure yet.

Yes, it is obvious that Republicans are still quite nervous about November. How can you tell?

Hint Number One: Voting Rights Act
fast-forwarded through a GOP Congress. Forgive my cynicism, but anything going through Congress that fast (Senate vote, 98-0 today after the 390-33 vote in the House last week) on an issue (race relations) which is not Top 10 on most GOP issue lists is cause for some quick eye-rolling.

Hint Number Two: Republicans becoming
more, ahem, "nuanced" on Iraq.

So, this suggests that the GOP is trying to cover all possible bases going into the fall -- as they should.

However, it should be kept in mind the other story coming out of the Tuesday primary -- Cynthia McKinney forced
into a runoff. Assuming that challenger Hank Johnson gets most of the votes from the third party candidate, McKinney may be toast.

Given McKinney's publicized boxing match with a Capitol Hill police officer and Reed's dance with Jack Abramoff, it may be the case that Georgia voters -- Democrat and Republican just decided that, yes, we can do better. Political embarrassments are just that -- political embarrassments that the voters don't need.

So, it may be too soon to tell whether this means that the "culture of corruption" meme is back -- to the GOP's detriment -- or whether this is sui generis to the Peach State.

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