Junk more than the junket

Well, the Grammys have come and gone, and, as usual, some folks got awards for singin’, some got awards for playin’, and some got ink for dressin’ funny and acting weird. But I can tell you right now the name of a solid contender for one of next year’s singing awards: Mr. Jack Abramoff. When ole Jacky boy starts singin’ his Bad Boy Blues, he’s gonna have an impact not normally seen from rookie vocalists.

In light of the bloodbath that’s about to take place in the wake of the Abramoff ice pick plunging into the Republican aorta, there are, predictably, lots of calls out there for new laws to “corral the corruption” in the District of Columbia. Like the one from suddenly virtuous House Speaker Dennis Hastert, which would ban congressmen from all travel junkets paid for by outside parties. OK, fine, but even if that one becomes law, it doesn’t do a lot effectively to deal with a problem that is completely, totally, absolutely, frandamballistically out of control. In the past five years, the number of lobbyists in D.C. has doubled to 34,000. Last year, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an army of lobbyists spent 193 million bucks a month to wine, dine and grease up federal officials.

Even if you ban free dinners along with the junkets, you still have the wide open boulevard of campaign contributions by which lobbyists can jerk senators and representatives to their side of the fence. Recent estimates show less than 1 percent of Americans made a contribution to a political campaign in ’03-’04. Somebody is supplying those millions of bucks for those relentless television ad campaigns, and it ain’t you and me.

If ever a system was so completely rotten, so riddled with termites, bedbugs and toxic mold that it just needed to be trashed, it’s our current system of political finance peddling. It’s clear to anyone who isn’t currently sucking on a fat PAC teat: The whole shithouse needs to be thoroughly BLOWN UP. In its place, we could decree the following: All lobbying would be banned. Period. Donations to any politician from any citizen or corporation would not be allowed. Period. All federal officials are making very nice six-figure salaries; they can buy their own friggin’ dinners. All candidates for office would have his or her campaigns funded by a new Commission of Elections, or some such agency. Each candidate would get the same amount of money for his or her campaign. Obviously, our current system, where the candidate with the most cash wins 95 percent of the time, isn’t doing a real good job of weeding out the dirtbags, earwigs and weasel-hearted chumbuckets. Each candidate would receive an equal number of free ads from the media to be used at their discretion and direction. There would be more stipulations, of course, but you get the idea.

As if anything close to any of this will happen in a hundred years.