First things first: the title is ripped off from P.J. O’Roarke, who wrote a book by the same title.
Jim Bovard has a rather humorous post up about the Abramoff "lobbying" scandal. Here’s one, quoting the NYT quoting some former republican aide:
“There’s a lot of talk coming out of
various quarters that the Justice Department is going to pursue a
different definition of bribery, meaning that if somebody were to give
a gift or a campaign contribution in the same time period as a member
took an official action, that in and of itself would constitute
bribery. That scares the bejesus out of people.”
Oh, you mean they’re going to use a definition of bribery close to the actual meaning of the word?
It astounds me. I hear virtually nothing but lies on both sides of the political debate virtually all of the time. Yea, they call it "spin." Euphemism for outright, boldface lying. Look: the only reason that the truth needs to be spun into a lie is that the truth is uncomfortable. Why is it uncomfortable? Well, in this case, because virtually every last one of them, on both sides–top to bottom and wall to wall–are whores on the take. They take bribes every day, and among the other euphemisms we engage, "campaign contributions" come to mind.
And I wouldn’t give a hoot about it, except that what’s going on is that white-collar-hoax "business" quislings seeking new regulations and fraudster activists that send out millions of mailers to dopes who actually believe that the world as they know it is coming to an end because of [insert favorite fad hysteria here], are bribing these whores to steal from me in one or more of myriad ways.
Let’s boil it down. This is practical politics, and the game is that the State has absolute power over your life. Politicians are agents of the State, and what they do is rent out that agency to the highest bidders, to do their bidding.
I think Jim is being a bit overly-optimistic, though. I’ll be surprised if even one politician goes down, although the prospect of a sacrificial lamb or two doesn’t seem too far fetched. But if you think that there is going to be any real exercise of justice or deliberate recognition of ethical principles of right and wrong, you’re fantasizing. It’s simple. If you are to employ the true meaning of bribery, they all go down. Of course, that would be impractical, and the only time principles are touted is when the prerequisite practicalities have already been fully satisfied.
Look at it this way: if each and every member of the House and Senate were caught with a smoking gun in their hand and dead body on the floor, we would find a way to change the definition of murder. That is a reality the implications of which are not grasped by one in a million people.