October 13, 2006 [LINK / comment]

A deluge of "October surprises"

Corruption? On Capitol Hill??? Yes, I'm afraid it's true. As the Mark Foley mess reminded us last week, one of the main weapons used in electoral politics these days is scandal-mongering. It is obviously no coincidence that most of the revelations of misdeeds by elected officials come in the weeks just before the election. It was reported this week, of all weeks, that Sen. George Allen (R-VA) failed to report stock options on a company he was promoting in his capacity as a public official; see Washington Post. Perhaps in retaliation, or perhaps not, it was learned that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) made highly quesionable profits off a real estate deal; see Washington Post. By genuine coincidence, in contrast, Rep. Robert Ney pleaded guilty today to corruption. See Washington Post. That scandal -- all of the unsavory dealings with lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- was over a year old.

Perhaps some day it will sink into certain thick skulls that there really was a good reason to prevent growth of the government bureaucracy and resist the temptation to cure social ills through Federal spending.

Speaking of which, Richard Viguerie, one of the fiercest conservative ideologues of the Reagan Era, is plugging his new book Conservatives Betrayed -- How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause at conservativehq.com. Yet another right-wing Bush-bashing book by a conservative... He recently appeared on C-SPAN. Back in the early 1980s when I was left of center, I viewed Viguerie with particular distaste, likening him to such unsavory right-wing polemicists as R. Emmet Tyrell. It is interesting to get a fresh perspective on someone who has been out of the limelight for many years.