Have you guys been following the Department of the Interior’s awesome cash-, sex-, coke- and favors-for-contracts scandal? You should be, it is an excellent scandal.
It also reminds me of Tom Frank’s new book, The Wrecking Crew. Like many, I find the unspoken premise of Frank’s polemics — that a sustained Democratic Congressional majority could and would, unlike a Republican one, govern effectively and honorably — frankly naive and bizarre. But I have to hand it to him: anytime a news item that breaks shortly after the release of your book reminds people of the thesis of your book… The Wrecking Crew takes the position that, basically, the G.O.P. channeled their contempt for well-intentioned (if unwieldy) hands-on government — the sissypants federal bureaucracy, basically — into small-government rhetoric appealing to U.S.-out-of-my-pants-type conservative voters, and then used their newly gained legislative and administrative power to expand said bureaucracy to their advantage, making it into a system of patronage, revolving-door careerism, and good old smoke-filled backroom backslapping. He mostly focuses on the DeLay-Abramoff axis, but obviously this “party of small government = party of exclusive government” scandal is a perfect storm for him.
What amounts to the thesis statement of the book was a recent Harper’s cover story, it’s online here. (Subscriber-only, I think, but email me and I’ll send you a pdf.)