So Jack Abramoff has decided to plea bargain, and a number of Congressmen (the San Francisco Chronicle has photos of 8, including Dubya, who have gotten various amounts) are wondering what to do with the money he donated to them. (Charitable causes may do well out of all this, as several of them have decided to "cleanse" the money that way.)
This whole mess brings two things to my mind:
One - Everybody involved in this mess is a Congressman. None of the people wishing his picture wasn't being published alongside this story is a woman. Not that this is statistically significant, since Congress is only about 15% female (14% in the Senate, 16% in the House); but doesn't it make you wonder if you shouldn't go and donate something to Emily's List? Maybe it just means that women don't want to play golf at St. Andrew's.
Two - Once again, the late great Arthur Hoppe (also of the San Francisco Chronicle) was right. During the ABSCAM scandal of 1978, Mr. Hoppe wrote a column (which I don't seem to have saved, alas, and the Hoppe columns are no longer available on the web), complaining that with all these furriners coming in (it was the FBI posing as Middle Eastern sheikhs, actually, see the Wikipedia article...) and buying up Congressmen for $25,000 apiece, pretty soon the price of a Congressman would be too high for an ordinary American to be able to afford his own...
Well, here we are, 28 years later, and "Duke" Cunningham goes down to the tune of $2.5 million, and the smallest amount Abramoff seems to have given anyone was $32,000. Inflation in politics, alas, just as predicted. Art Hoppe, where are you, now that we need you?