Click on chart.
Credit: Washington Post
Remember when we were kids and someone would give us something and then want it back? How we'd mutter "Indian giver"? Actually the term comes from a time when Native Americans considered "gifts" as items for trade. If the recipient didn't have something of equal value to "trade" the gift was refused or returned. To the Europeans this was insulting; gifts were not for trade but to be given freely.
Our politicians seem to be redefining it once again - as they tend to do with everything that isn't expedient for their agendas. I'm wondering if after this debacle the American public won't say "a pox on both your houses"!
Mr. Abramoff, the lobbyist at the core of all this, is not an honorable man nor are many of his political cronies on the receiving end of his efforts. He played clients off one another for less than honest motivation and many of our politicians enjoyed the spoils with relish. I've been watching the resulting political theater with a mixture of amusement and disgust. The Democrats are screaming foul at the top of their lungs but keeping the money. The Republicans are dumping money like crazy so not to be tainted by Abramoff's revelations.
First, giving it back doesn't erase the action. Second, the money came from the tribes, not Mr. Abramoff. Even tribes who were Abramoff clients have the right to contribute to politicians. Having bad judgment in lobbying affiliations does not negate rights. Assuming that is the case why is anyone giving it back? Why is the money in Patti Murray's and Harry Reid's coffer less tainted than Burns of Montana or Nickels of Oklahoma if, in fact, it came from the tribes?
Other than Hawaii, there are only four states that do not have tribes. They are Illinois, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia. Hasert from Illinois and Rogers from Kentucky might be suspect but if they support legislation beneficial to tribes in neighboring states it would make sense for the tribes to support their election efforts.
The issue of who got what and why is complex to be sure and dirty and some would say politics as usual until someone gets caught. But the sight of ALL these players running for cover does nothing to change my opinion of them - lower than Bacchus's belly to the floor during a vet exam. And Washington wonders why so many Americans don't trust them.