Jack Abramoff Scandal

Many of us have known for years about the culture of corruption permeating Washington politics. It’s not just a partisan slogan – Congress is bought and sold every day. The system is broken, and it’s time to fix it.

The scandal involving Jack Abramoff is starting to give us a glimpse of the scope of this mess. The GOP has lots to answer for. Republicans rode into power in 1994 thumping their chests about reform, and now it appears that Washington is as sleazy as ever.

The Justice Department should be commended. They are going after these guys in a big way. Let’s hope they get to the bottom of this mess. (Updated 1/5/06 by Gerardo Orlando)

Howard Fineman discussed the likely winners and losers in the Abramoff scandal.

News

News - Orlando Report

Duke Cunningham Scandal
Should we call this “Hookergate?” It looks like the CIA and many more GOP congressmen are going to be dragged into this mess.

Jack Abramoff Scandal
Abramoff has now pleaded guilty, so we can expect the Justice Department to start going after Congressmen and their staffers.

Plamegate
Scooter Libby has been indicted on one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements. Karl Rove has escaped indictment for now, but the case is not yet closed.

The indictment cites an article in the New Republic from 2003 after the invasion of Iraq that started the chain of events leading to the outing of Valerie Plame. The article is an amazing piece of reporting that blew apart the administration’s case for war, demonstrating in detail how the administration intentionally exaggerated the nuclear threat posed by Saddam. Joe Wilson was one of the key sources for that article.

In a related story, the National Journal is reporting that Vice President Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby withheld documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004 in connection with their investigation of pre-war intelligence.

Cronyism
Following the Miers nomination, it’s now conservatives attacking the president for cronyism. While incompetent in most important matters, this administration at least used to get the politics right. Now they’ve made the cronyism storyline even more credible with the Miers fiasco.

Katrina Disaster
The fiasco in New Orleans has opened the eyes of many Americans. They have now seen up close the incompetence of the Bush administration. They’ve seen how cronyism trumps experience and expertise. Now we’ll see if Bush will follow up on his promises to help rebuild New Orleans.

Social Security
The biggest battle going on in Washington concerns Bush’s attempt to change Social Security by turning it into a contribution plan with private accounts as opposed to a defined benefit plan of social insurance. So far Americans aren’t buying it.

Stem Cell Research
Congress is set to defy President Bush by lifting the ban on this popular research. Can they overcome a threatened veto?

Policy

Policy - Orlando Report

FEATURED ISSUES

Energy Independence
This is probably the most important issue facing our country because it affects our national security, our quality of life and our economy.

U.S. Economy
With the financial crisis, we’re still trying to dig out of the hole we created for ourselves.

War on Terror & Homeland Security
Are we safer than we were before 9/11?

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Iraq War
Even supporters are now acknowledging that the post-war occupation has been a disaster.

DOMESTIC POLICY

Economy, Taxes and the Deficit
Can we trust the GOP with our money. After three years of having a Republican president and GOP-controlled congress, the answer appears to be “no.”

Social Security Reform
Is there a crisis, or is the GOP creating the impression of a crisis to pass private accounts?

Stem-Cell Research
Will Nancy Reagan take on Bush over this issue?

Gay Marriage
Are we really willing to amend the Constitution over this issue?

Estate Tax
Will the GOP’s hype machine work? They’re calling it the “Death Tax” in order to change public opinion.

Tort Reform
Both parties are screwing things up. The system needs to be fixed. Can anyone fix it?

Culture War
This page needs lots of work, but the divide in American is very real.

Politics

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” -Groucho Marx
As we near the end of 2007, the 2008 Presidential campaign is now taking shape. Barack Obama is posing a real threat to Hillary Clinton in Iowa, and Mike Huckabee is shoking all the pundits by taking the lead in Iowa. Mitt Romney’s campaign seems to be disintigrating before our eyes, and Rudy Giuliani is facing some interesting questions about expenses relating to his affair with Judith Nathan while he was mayor of New York.

COMMENTARY

Charles Krauthammer is a conservative columnist, yet he’s getting tired of the emphasis on religion and piety by the GOP candidates.
Politics - Orlando Report

PROFILES:

2008 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES – DEMOCRATS:

Barack Obama
Barack is catching fire. He was criticized by all the pundits for not getting tough enough with Hillary, but his campaign pointed out there was plenty of time. After Labor Day he sharpened his campaign, and now he’s surging in the early states.

Hillary Clinton
She’s had a tough month. Her disciplined and programmed style seemed to work for a while as all the experts discussed her inevitable win, but then she stumbled in a debate, and her attack-oriented campaign started with a silly counter-attack that made her look like a fool. Can sherecover?

John Edwards
Edwards has completely transformed himself since the 2004 campaign. He used to be the cautious candidate, but now he’s letting it all hang out. What made the difference? It might be his realization that he completely screwed up supporting Bush’s war, and his admition that he made a mistake probably freed him to be more candid. Elizabeth’s cancer situation also seems to have liberated him. He can’t be counted out.

Bill Richardson
The resume candidate is hanging in there but he hasn’t made a big impact.

Chris Dodd
Good man, but no one seems to be listening.

Joe Biden
He’s been incredibly disciplined given his tendency to talk too much, but he hasn’t caught fire. Yet he’s been invaluable in the debates as an experienced voice of reason on foreign policy.

Dennis Kucinich
Dennis has no chance, but he contributes to the debates.

2008 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES – REPUBLICANS:

Mike Huckabee
His rise in the GOP field has been spectacular. He’s the optimistic, feel-good candidate, and he’s the favorite of evangelicals.

Rudy Giuliani
Fear and 9/11. It’s a shame that this practical moderate has resorted to such a lame strategy.

Mitt Romney
He’s dropping like a rock. All that money bought him a lead in Iowa as he tried to woo religious voters, yet he seems to have lost them all to Huckabee.

John McCain
His lame campaign still has some life and he’s trying to revive his “straight-talk” reputation.

Fred Thompson – coming soon
Not living up to all the hype.

Ron Paul
What a breath of fresh air! Paul proves that there are some small-government conservatives left in this country.

FEATURED PAGES:

Gay Marriage
This turned out to be Carl Rove’s secret weapon, as it helped to get conservative voters to the polls in states like Ohio. Will the radical left finally give up on this issue?

GENERAL POLITICS

In an excellent piece in The New Republic, Peter Beinart asks what went wrong in the election, and argues that Democrats cannot over-react to the results. They shouldn’t pander to the cultural conservatives in order to win their votes, yet they also cannot mock them or treat them with contempt. The best Democrats can hope for is to fight for a draw on those issues, while focusing on a real agenda for economic and foreign policy.

E.J. Dionne Jr. describes the thirst for common ground in politics, and the challenge posed by today’s polarized politics.

Molly Ivins ridicules the Republican spin machine as only she can.

Defending Liberty – Peggy Noonan makes a strong argument that our government takes too much authority andnot enough responsibility. By trying too hard to protect us,government takes away our rights to do stupid things. Anyonewith a libertarian streak should read this column.

ARCHIVES

2004 Presidential Election
Bush wins!

Debates
They almost saved Kerry’s candidacy.

Dick Cheney and Halliburton
Does Cheney deserve the criticism? Now that the FBI is involved, will this story resurface?

Cronyism
Bush keeps appointing his incompetent and unqualified buddies to important positions, and the country continues to suffer.

Conservatives
Is the GOP destroying the conservative movement? Bush and his cohorts in Congress have abandoned numerous principles that conservatives fought for over the past 50 years.