Funny thing about public scrutiny: It works both ways and those who want more of it soon find out such scrutiny can turn around and bite them in the ass. So it’s fun watching the sanctimonious partisans who dominate the political blogs scream in anguish because one of their own is under a microscope.
Over on the right-wing side of the great partisan divide, the conservatives and Republicans twist their crying towels because endlessly self-promoting anti-tax activist Grover Norquist is smack dab in the middle of the Jack Abramoff scandal.
Federal investigators looking into Abramoff’s wide-ranging use of free trips and outright bribes to mostly-Republican lawmakers show the shady lobbyist often laundered his money through Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform with Norquist, of course, taking a cut for serving as a conduit.
Another Norquist group, the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, received an outright half-million dollar payment from Abramoff client money.
Norquist, of course, denies any wrongdoing. So does former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Rep. William Jefferson, Rep. Bob Ney and so on and so on. Anyone see a pattern here?
Those who know Norquist knew it was only a matter of time before his habit of playing fast and loose with the rules would land the hotshot Republican in trouble. Norquist has been pals with disgraced lobbyist Abramoff since their days with the College Republicans and both always bragged about their abilities to circumvent the rules to get something done.
Stories about Norquist have brought howls of protest from right-wing bulletin boards, blogs and bloggers, claiming a Democratic smear machine was out to nail their boy. The last we heard, control of the U.S. Department of Justice lay firmly in the control of a right-wing zealot named Gonzales, the attorney general of the United States.
But while the right-wing is spinning over one of their own in trouble, the left side of the fence is in absolute apoplexy over new questions about the motives of two of their favorite sons — Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas, founders of DailyKos, the Mecca of so-called “progressive” Democrats.
The New York Times recently raised questions about Armstrong’s run-in with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2000 over stock-touting charges. Another story suggests DailyKos gives favorable attention and even endorsements to those who use, and pay dearly for, the services of Armstrong’s political consulting firm.
Such influence peddling is typical of old-school politics but an end to old-school politics is supposed to be what sites like DailyKos advocate so aggressively. Actually, like most left-wing blogs, Armstrong and Moulitsas only advocate an end to old school politics when it is practiced by Republicans.
They appear to have a problem with “moderate” or “centrist” Democrats but DailyKos now openly praises and supports moderate Democratic Presidential contender Mark Warner who just happens to be a client of Armstrong. Coincidence? Not really.
Supporters of Kos, and they are many and loud, scream that the “attacks” are just another ploy of the right-wing, something cooked up by the likes of Karl Rove to discredit them and their movement.
Sadly, they – like their counterparts on the right – apply a hypocritical double standard when it comes to judging their own. Politics and the web is overrun by get-rich-quick, fast-buck artists and the lust for money and power is non-partisan. Jack Abramoff, Grover Norquist, Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas are political opportunists cut from the same cloth and, when it comes to political opportunists, those of us who seek the truth use one simple rule:
Follow the money.