A reader points out that many of the campaign contributions I described as “legalized bribery” are better understood as extortion. Absolutely right. That’s the Rove/Armey/DeLay/Abramoff/Norquist revolution, which if it succeeds will move the country a long way not only toward permanent Republican rule but also toward a kleptocratic “crony capitalist” system to replace not only legitimate politics but also real capitalism.
Sending all of the perpetrators to jail will help, but it won’t be enough. They also need to suffer massive electoral defeats in 2006 and 2008.
That should be the Democratic slogan for the next three years:
Clean up the mess in Washington! Throw the rascals out!
If there’s to be a Democratic “Contract with America,” some of its content should be policy initiatives designed to benefit the bottom 99% of the income distribution at the expense of the top 1%; some of it should be replacing ideology with science and common sense in decision-making; and the rest should be reform of the political and governing processes, including honest vote-counting. Like 1974, this is a moment at which “process liberalism” might have wide public appeal.