We Intend to Announce a Plan

Mary Katharine Ham
|
Posted: Jan 17, 2006 12:44 PM

Both parties are going to come out of the Abramoff deal smelling none too sweet. I give no passes to Republicans involved and am convinced House leadership should get as FAR, FAR, FAR away from a connection with Abramoff as they can get.

This is a time to turn a corner, a time to cut out some nonsense in D.C. It remains to be seen whether our good representatives can muster the courage to do it by actually cutting out nonsense instead of creating a fully staffed Federal Administration of Cutting Out Nonsense to the tune of $30 bil.

Here's hoping, right? Whether or not I'm going to like the ideas remains to be seen, but the Republican Party seems at least secure in its position as the party of ideas. Heck, if there were laurels, they could rest on them, provided they didn't come by way of the centerpieces at Signatures restaurant.

Because the Dems got nothing. From a story headlined, "House Republicans Unveil New Ethics Plan":

House Republicans moved to seize the initiative for ethics reform Tuesday with a comprehensive package of changes, including the banning of privately sponsored travel like that arranged by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The package also includes a virtual ban on gifts, except for inconsequential items like baseball caps, and a provision that will affect few people: elimination of congressional pensions for anyone convicted of a felony related to official duties...

Democrats, who have adopted a "culture of corruption" theme in a drive to oust Republicans from control of Congress, intend to unveil this week a proposed ban on lobbyists' gifts to lawmakers. (emphasis mine)

When's the last time the Dems actually put forth a plan instead of telling everyone they intend to do so in the future?

I can intend to announce a plan to make my roommate chocolate-chip cookies all day, but that doesn't put the delicious chocolate-chip cookies in her mouth, does it? Such a move on my part would be especially problematic if I spent all day every day complaining about the culture of non-chocolatey-chippiness in our apartment and her role in bringing it about.

These reforms sound like a solid start, and I noticed no mention of a new Federal Bureau of Keeping Our Own Noses Clean, so that's a good sign. I don't pretend to know the way to cut out corruption in D.C., but I'm pretty sure more big programs with dark corners in which to hide corruption is not the way.

I'll keep waiting for the Dem plan, which I will continue to hope will focus on cutting out, not building up programs. I seem to remember I've already been waiting a while.