Battlepanda: The Dorgan Diversion


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Dorgan Diversion

My first instinct on hearing that a Democrat, Senator Bryan Dorgan, was caught up in the Abramoff investigation was the same as Kos -- we can't be seen to protect our own while going after Republicans. Then I read more about it and realized that Dorgan has actually done nothing wrong. Nothing. The Republicans have got nothing except a $5000 donation arranged by the now-radioactive Abramoff, but notice that unlike, say, the Duke-stir, this is a contribution that went to his political group and duly filed with the FEC. True, Dorgan wrote a letter that favored the Louisiana Coushatta tribe, where the money actually came from. But there's no reason to suppose that he wrote the letter on a quid pro quo basis. Firstly, $5000 is a measly sum, he'd be pricing the Republicans right out of business. Secondly, he's got plenty of poor Native Americans in his state that the letter benefits, and furthering the welfare of his constituents is Dorgan's job. Thirdly, giving money to politicians whose positions furthers your interests is called 'lobbying'. You might not like it, you might think it distorts our democracy, but it's legal. There's an institution called K street, you might have heard of it. Jack Abramoff is a lobbyist. He's never tried to hide that fact, and he is not being persecuted for the lobbying activities he conducted in an above-board manner. But a Democrat is being smeared for being connected to Abramoff through his regular, legal lobbying activities. That is like being accused as an accomplice in a bank heist because you used to hire the guy who robbed the bank to mow your lawn.

Kos' "If Dorgan becomes collateral damage, then so be it" attitude is wrong.
This is the standard M.O. for the Republicans -- the echo-chamber smear campaign of lies based on a fragment of fact, the minimization of their own monumental wrong-doings with attempts to draw equivalence between completely disparate behaviors. If Dorgan is innocent (and I see no evidence that he is not) then we need to stand behind him instead of offering him up as a sacrificial lamb. That would be playing right into Republican hands.