Saturday, August 18, 2007

ThisClose to a Banana Republic

If Democrats hadn’t taken control of Congress this year, we might be living in a third-world country under self-reinforcing Republican rule. Ultimately we have George Bush’s stupidity and stubbornness over Iraq to thank for saving us.

As Karl Rove prepares for his final bows tomorrow on Sunday morning talk shows, the House Oversight Committee leaks the latest news in his dismantling of the Hatch Act, which has barred federal employees from engaging in partisan politics since 1939.

The McClatchy newspapers report: “Top Commerce and Treasury Departments officials appeared with Republican candidates and doled out millions in federal money in battleground congressional districts and states after receiving White House political briefings detailing GOP election strategy.”

This comes after revelations that the State Department, American ambassadors, the General Services Administration (which oversees government contracts) and, most infamously, U.S. Attorneys were dragooned into using their time and taxpayer money to benefit Republican office holders.

Despite all this electoral manipulation, intense and widespread public anger over Iraq and the personal corruption of Congressional Republicans gave both houses to the Democrats last November. It’s sobering to imagine how a little less hubris would have kept Bush and Rove’s lackeys in power.

As Democrats congratulate themselves for uncovering the chicanery and relish their prospects in next year’s voting, they may want to take a sober look at how much their efforts to sweep out the Augean Stables are distracting them from pressing public needs.

Nobody, especially in Washington, is immune from arrogance.

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