You see, among other ways, Norquist helped Jack by laundering money: While milking Indian gaming tribes out of $45 million, Abramoff would direct the tribes to pay money to Norquist's ATR, which would deduct a fee and write a check to the conservative cause of Abramoff's choice, thus masking the source of the donation.
"McCain could hardly have anticipated the cosmic convergence of events that would lead to Norquist's head being delivered to him on a platter," TNR's Lizza writes. McCain held hearings, subpoenaed documents, and. . . nothing. "At every moment when McCain could have pulled the trigger, he let Norquist walk away."
Indeed, at one point there was a showdown brewing: McCain had ordered Norquist to turn over his organization's financial records. Norquist refused; McCain -- perhaps knowing that the worst punishment Norquist faced for his impertinence was a misdemeanor charge -- dropped the matter.
Why did McCain let Norquist, a blood enemy, off the hook? Lizza speculates that McCain is sly enough to consider his presidential ambitions before his personal animosities -- or even, perhaps, justice. If Norquist can help McCain deliver primary votes, he'll keep him alive.
That might work for McCain. For others of us, eager to see the entire Abramoff mess laid out in detail and in public, forgiveness may not come so easily.