In case you didn't catch it, David Brooks, a conservative columnist, has a list of things the Republican Party must do in order to rid itself of the stink of Jack Abramoff. His third "suggestion" is interesting:
Third, Republicans need to steal David Obey and Barney Frank's lobbying-reform ideas. For some insane reason, having to do with their own special interests, Democrats have been slow to trumpet the ideas coming from their own party. Republicans have a chance to hijack them before the country notices. Specifically, there should be a ban on lobbyist-paid travel. (Members should be allowed to take spouses on publicly financed travel because it is important that members get out and see the world.) Former members should not be allowed to lobby on the House floor. All lobbyist contacts with government officials should be posted on the Internet.
Our favorite Congresscritter, Dave Obey, has been a voice in the wilderness for years when it comes to the Democratic party. Maybe this mention by a prominent conservative columnist will wake up the ruling powers within the Democratic party and they will listen to Dave.
Brooks has sounded an alarm bell for us that we should be paying attention to. The Democratic Party needs to get "out-in-front" of the issue of lobbying reform and take a firm stand against corruption. We have an opportunity before us much like the one the Republicans had in 1994 where they rode to power on a theme of "Reform".
If the party chooses the reform platform route, it must also be willing to make some very hard choices. Nobody can be naive enough to believe that corruption only exists within the Republican Party. If there are instances of corruption within the Democratic Party we must have the courage to expose it and deal with it of our own volition and not wait for it to be exposed by some special prosecutor. That will take extraordinary courage because we will risk losing the opportunity to regain majorities in either of the Houses of Congress.
Maybe we need a quick lesson in courage from Dave Obey.
and as an aside.............
I don't usually watch Chris Matthews' program Hardball on MSNBC (also occasionally known as MSRNC, (for Republican National Committee)) but I did last night to see if Matthews would admit that he was scheduled to appear at a fundraiser for a charitable group known as The Capital Athletic Foundation. That foundation was founded by everybody's favorite exterminator, Congressman Tom Delay, and a repository for money (bribes) from Jack Abramoff's clients. As it turns out and audit exposed that less than 1% of the money went to the organization's stated mission: "athletic activities for inner-city youth". Matthews didn't admit his involvement and went on reporting the Abramoff story with all the self-righteous indignation that we've come to expect from him.
There was a side benefit to watching Matthews last night though. He reported on Newt Gingrich's speech in which he called upon the Republican Party to reform itself and also to "fire" Delay as Minority Leader. To his credit, Matthews reminded correspondent Andrea Mitchell (who has her own problems regarding the Plame Incident and now the NSA ILLEGAL spying scandal) that Gingrich himself had left Congress under the cloud of scandal. After Andrea reluctantly admitted that Gingrich "had issues", Matthews said singer's reminded him of the old Hollywood quote: "I knew Doris Day BEFORE she was a virgin."