Having disrespected a David Brooks column in a weekend post, I have to say that today’s offering on the greater meaning of the ever-burgeoning Abramoff/Scanlon/Reed Casino Shakedown Scandal pretty much balances the weekly ledger in my book. Aside from writing a quick and acerbic summary of the scandal and its many ironies, Brooks does not shrink from the connection between the Republican Revolution of 1995 and its increasingly nauseating Thermidor. Indeed, Brooks says you can’t understand one without the other:
Back in 1995, when Republicans took over Congress, a new cadre of daring and original thinkers arose. These bold innovators had a key insight: that you no longer had to choose between being an activist and a lobbyist. You could be both. You could harness the power of K Street to promote the goals of Goldwater, Reagan and Gingrich. And best of all, you could get rich while doing it!
So far most GOPers and conservative opinion-leaders are ignoring the whole mess, in part because it’s not getting much play in the mainstream media other than in the Washington Post. But this story ain’t going away, and soon enough we’ll start hearing the splashing sound of Abramoff and Reed’s fellow crewmen tossing them over the side with sad, damage-controlling comments about how ol’ Jack and ol’ Ralph lost their minds along with their principles.
Given his partisan loyalties, I’m glad to see that Brooks isn’t buying it:
Abramoff’s and Scanlon’s Indian-gaming scandal will go down as the movement’s crowning achievement, more shameless than anything the others would do, but still the culmination of the trends building since 1995. It perfectly embodied their creed and philosophy: “I’d love us to get our mitts on that moolah!!” as Abramoff wrote to Reed.
They made at least $66 million.
This is a major accomplishment. And remember: Abramoff didn’t do it on his own.
It took a village. The sleazo-cons thought they could take over K Street to advance their agenda. As it transpired, K Street took over them.