International Politics ///

Defense of lobbyists. “We know of no spectacle so ridiculous,” wrote the great British historian, Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859), “as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.” Macaulay would have been perfectly at home in Washington, where moral indignation (and humbug) against lobbyists runs high in the midst of the “Casino Jack” Abramoff scandal. Lobbyist Abramoff and his pals made millions of dollars by effectively cheating or defrauding Indian tribes (he called them “monkeys” and “morons”), bloated with tons of money from casino operations. Abramoff was their Washington lobbyist. Since then, Abramoff (who pled guilty to fraud) has cooperated with federal prosecutors in the hope of earning a reduced sentence, but the Washington pols (mostly Republicans, but not exclusively) worry that his evidence this summer will incriminate them, especially as the November mid-term election nears.

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