Several organizations are calling for “reform” of the campaign-finance and lobbying system. This is a mistake. It is very important to understand that this Abramoff scandal is about breaking laws, not about any need for reform of existing laws. But more than that, it is about an attempt to change America into a one-party state.
This scandal is about the leadership of the Republican Party creating a self-perpetuating system where public money is spent to promote a non-democratic, divisive, destructive ideology and perpetuate one-party control — THEIR control — of the country.
The Abramoff scandal shines a light on how the currently-constituted “conservative movement” / Christian Right-controlled Republican Party, not isolated individuals, are systematically using the power of government to finance and extend an illegal, corrupt machine of one-party domination. Their leadership implemented a comprehensive, party-wide system wherein companies paid for legislation and were punished by the government itself if they refused to pay. The committees of the Congress itself were used to intimidate lobbying firms and others to purge all but Republicans and then become tools to increase Republican Party control. The money received was used to strengthen this system and further promote the ideology and candidates. Meanwhile, the agencies of government are systematically and rapidly being purged and replaced with “conservative movement” operatives, and increasingly used to enforce one-party control.
I believe this system is a component of an organized threat to our democracy from a well-financed, self-described “Leninist,” subversive, cult-like, conspiratorial movement intent on imposing a corporatist/theocratic authoritarian system on us. I think history teaches us that we are already well down the “slippery slope” of increasingly repressive government, with a president who says laws do not restrict his authority and that Democrats “provide comfort to our adversaries” and I fear the signals such language sends to “the base.”
I think this ideologically-driven threat to our freedom is a national emergency as grave as that which we faced from Germany or the Soviet Union. But when we faced those threats we were able to recognize and fight back against the propaganda with the resources of our own government. Today, however, the government’s resources themselves are increasingly turned on us.
So when you hear that this scandal is about Democrats as well as Republicans, or “everybody does it” don’t buy that crap for a second. This is a very very different situation from simple graft. This is not about an individual member of Congress taking a payoff or otherwise cashing out from the position. This is NOTHING like Former Speaker of the House Jim Wright selling self-published copies of a book for cash or Dan Rostenkowski getting free stamps and trading them for cash. This is systematic abuse by the leadership of a political party in a scheme to take over the country.
Watch your backs.