Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Republican Protection Racket

Regarding Harry Reid’s supposed involvement in Abramoff scandal’s, Scott Shields at MyDD writes:

For a variety of reasons, some of which I still don't get, the old fashioned media wants very badly for this to be a bipartisan scandal. This is only the latest attempt to make it so.

But I don’t think this is correct.  While I do think that the media would prefer this to be bipartisan, I don’t think they’re intentionally forcing it to be so.  I think the problem is that they still don’t understand what this is.  They still think this is a lobbyist scandal.  They think the problem is with lobbyists handing out money to politicians; as if it just ends with the money.  But it’s not.  It’s a political scandal, with Jack Abramoff as a middle-man handling a Republican slushfund.  

But it didn’t have to be Abramoff; he just happened to be the guy they used.  But it could have been anyone else they assigned as the bagman.  In truth, he wasn’t a lobbyist at all.  A real lobbyist is a guy you hire to press politicians for a certain point of view.  But he didn’t have to press anyone; he was already the go-to guy.  His clients weren’t the businesses handing out the money.  His client was the Republican Party, who wanted that money.  And the businesses knew that they had to go through him or they’d be cut-off completely.  

In mobster terms, Abramoff was just the hired goon who went around collecting the extortion money from the local shopkeepers.  And while the mob-types always insist that the money is for “protection”, it was only protection against them stomping you down and putting you out of business.  And that’s exactly the shakedown racket that the Republicans were running.  This wasn’t about gaining access to the Republicans.  This was about not getting shut-out.  Businesses weren’t the beneficiaries of Abramoff’s lobbying; they were the victims of a political scam.

But the media still hasn’t gotten that.  They’re used to the old system and still think of Jack as a lobbyist who leaned towards Republicans because they were more in-tune with his clients’ needs.  But that he also leaned towards Democrats when he needed to.  And that’s why they keep focusing on who Jack contacted and who he gave money to.  Because that’s all they think this is; yet another case of Big Money corrupting politics.  And it just hasn’t occurred to them that the Republican politicians are so corrupt that they’ve corrupted Big Money.

But the media doesn’t get that, and keeps focusing on the money.  Not because they’re trying to help the Republicans; but because they’re complete dopes who can’t see the big picture.  And I think the problem is that the media has developed a network of eager-beavers with tunnel vision who only see what’s directly in front of them and can only understand what they’re spoonfed.  And there’s really nothing new about this.  Almost nobody saw the big picture in Watergate, until the whole thing was entirely sketched out for them.  And then Woodward & Bernstein looked like geniuses; simply for having recognized the obvious.  But the amazement shouldn’t have been that Nixon was discovered; but rather that he could get away with it as long as he did.  Had the media done it’s job from the start, Nixon wouldn’t have gotten away with jackshit.  Nor would he tried to.

And the folks in place nowadays have been duped by the Republicans into thinking that they’re “free-market but honest” guys; whereas the Dems are the “socialist but crooked” guys.  And so it doesn’t occur to them that the Republicans are acting entirely in their own best interests; while completely fucking with the business world.  They were supposed to be the Big Business party, and they’ve now turned Big Business into nothing more than a cashcow.  A cashcow that allows a crooked exterminator to live like a king.  And the media doesn’t have a clue.  But this whole thing isn’t a conspiracy against us.  Sometimes, there’s nothing to blame but plain old stupidity.

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