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February 07, 2006

Ethics Committees and Unethical Republicans

By Neil the Ethical Werewolf

This came up in comments on Nicholas' post below: if Democrats were to break the "ethics truce" and launch complaints against Republicans in the GOP-controlled House Ethics Committee, would there be any chance of their complaints amounting to anything?  Or would Republicans use their power to just dismiss the complaints, launch their own trumped-up complaints against Democrats, and do serious damage?  I don't really know anything about how the process works, so somebody please fill me in. 

February 7, 2006 in Republicans | Permalink

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Comments

One point I've read (I believe Yglesias has made it, but am not sure) is basically bring it on. First off, there's no honor in protecting a crooked Dem. Second off, the Reps are much more deeply and broadly crooked, so while a scorched earth attack might cause some damage to Dems, it would hurt the Reps much more, resulting in net Dem gains. Not to mention (for those as naive as I) net honesty gains.

Posted by: ptm | Feb 7, 2006 10:04:31 AM

1. The party in power is always the most "crooked," even if no actual laws are broken. What benefit is there in sucking up to the minority? That's why the Dems who dominated the pre-1994 Congresses were constantly in trouble (remember Jim Wright, etc.). There is no genetic difference between Republicans and Democrats in this, as anybody who pays attention to big city politics (any big city) well knows.

2. The value in the accusation is the press coverage. There is, however, a cost to press coverage -- it distracts the audience from *other* press coverage. If the Donks want to go after the GOP on ethics, it might work, but then it will drown out their signal on the Iraq war, the NSA surveillance, the Libby thing, the environment, judicial appointments, fundamentalist Christians, etc. The Democrats have such a target-rich environment, at least in their own estimation, that they are shooting at everything and hitting nothing.

3. The strategic confusion suggested in #2 above derives from the cobbled-together nature of today's Democratic party. There are too many professional activists who live and die over too many issues for the party to freakin' focus.

Posted by: TigerHawk | Feb 7, 2006 10:23:10 AM

They would dismiss the complaints, cook up some shit of their own and do damage. Unethical people shouldn't be allowed to run Ethics Committees. But you are ruled by the Repub party you have, not the one you wish you had.

Posted by: merl | Feb 7, 2006 11:26:49 AM

There is no genetic difference

Heh, keep telling yourself that. The difference between Dems and Repubs is that individual Dems have their troubles, and individual Repubs are honest.

Posted by: Kimmitt | Feb 7, 2006 11:47:18 AM

I think the Dems are wise to stay away from this. The notion that "there's no honor protecting a crooked Dem" is mighty naive in this political/media climate. The Repubs would be able to use their majority power and media control to make it look like the Dems were just as corrupt as they are. It'd be like the Clinton years all over again: an endless run of trumped-up pseudo-scandals, lapped up eagerly by the media. The Dems need to wait until they control at least one house in Congress.

Posted by: Rebecca Allen, RN, PhD | Feb 7, 2006 1:11:32 PM

Heh, keep telling yourself that. The difference between Dems and Repubs is that individual Dems have their troubles, and individual Repubs are honest.

Care to clarify? I have no idea what you mean.

I like TigerHawk's description, especially in point #3. The Democratic party is more loosely based than the Republican party. We have more single issue groups that care more about their cause than Democrat wins at the polls. Although I do think unifying principles between these groups include the right to privacy, freedom from tyranny, and a clean healthy environment. This is probably why we're able to come together.

I wish I could answer the original question. But I fear the only thing WE have to fear is fear itself. That is, the sentiments expressed by Rebecca above. I know alot of liberal friends who simply wish the Democrats would stop fearing the Republicans and the media and just come out swinging with some viscious language and actual risk-taking. If the whole ship comes down, so be it, we'll rebuild. If we're supposed to be the more honest party, it should come out in the rebuilding. But that is all contingent on having some real well spoken, high profile Dems with very little "corruption" in their background. New leaders emerging, etc. I don't know that we have people like that.

Posted by: Adrock | Feb 7, 2006 3:24:11 PM

"Or would Republicans use their power to just dismiss the complaints, launch their own trumped-up complaints against Democrats, and do serious damage?"

They would definitely take that approach because their attack machine is so smooth. And one sex scandal trumps a hundred money scandals, unfortunately.

Posted by: Pepper | Feb 7, 2006 5:03:00 PM

I don't know what Kimmitt means, either. I can't even tell which side he's on. Which probably means he's a Democrat.

Just goofin', guys, don't go bananas.

Posted by: TigerHawk | Feb 7, 2006 9:57:35 PM

Agree with the majority here, better to let things keep going. Our side is so far managing to sort of hold itself together against the GOP corruption machine; let's not open up another front in this war. Also, as Pepper says, let's not forget the huge advantage the GOP has in terms of propaganda machines.

Posted by: Stephen | Feb 7, 2006 10:33:42 PM

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Posted by: judy | Oct 1, 2007 5:13:09 AM

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