Outrage gap update

If Josh Marshall is right — which is always a pretty good bet — the Texas scandal may actually generate its full share of outrage. Apparently Tom Ridge is justifying his refusal to hand over to Congress the records of how the DHS got involved in the Republican manhunt for the missing Democrats on the basis that a potential criminal investigation is involved. Josh offers reasons to believe that Tom DeLay might be one target of that investigation.

I said earlier that I wasn’t going to pretend to be outraged. But I also won’t pretend to be even a teensy tinsy bit unhappy if it turns out that DeLay and his accomplices managed to violate some criminal laws, and if DeLay gets nailed for it: or alternatively if the Justice Department punts the case and allows it to grow into a real scandal for next year.

So far, the right-bloggers seem to have been very disciplined about this; I don’t recall seeing a word about it. If that starts to change, I would count that as an indication that this one might be ready to blow.

Of course the fact that the Republicans have control of both houses means that we’re not likely to see any serious Congressional hearings on this, which makes it likely that the GOP can cover this one up and get away with it. But this is exactly the sort of issue that’s simple enough to appeal to both reporters and the electorate.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com