How deep is the pit - and how widespread is the corruption? And do the people of conscience on Capitol Hill have the ability to take down the corrupt backroom dealmakers?
Last week, I asked my Twitter followers, "Do you believe that Congress will clean up its own act when it comes to dealing with members guilty of sexual harassment?" A staggering 91 percent responded with "No way!" while only 1 percent voted for "Absolutely!" (The other 8 percent chose "I think so.")
If the lawmakers are the lawbreakers, this cynicism makes perfect sense. Yet Congress might be forced to clean up its own act, like it or not.
One way this could happen is that a guilty congressman could decide to bring others down with him. As a headline on the Gateway Pundit announces, "Democrat Conyers Threatens to Take the Whole Damn Swamp Down With Him!" Yes, "The lawyer for Rep. John Conyers hinted the Michigan Democrat may take down 'many others' with him if he is pushed too hard!"
This is the reverse of "I'll cover you if you cover me," the opposite of the "good old boy" club. Instead, it becomes, "You uncover me and I'll uncover you. You hurt me and I'll unleash hell against you."
This is what happens when you have dirt on each other and agree to keep it quiet and hide it under the rug. This is what happens when you write laws and establish precedents whereby taxpayer money can be used to pay off accusers without a word being released to the general public. This is what happens when a lot of people have skeletons in their closets. You expose my skeletons and I'll expose yours!
If this scenario unfolds and a falling congressman decides to drag others down with him, Congress will have no choice but to address the scandals. The media and the society will leave them no choice.
A second way Congress could be forced to clean up its own act is if more and more of the abused and harassed speak out. In a shockingly candid admission on ABC's "This Week," Roberts said (of certain unspecified members of Congress): "Don't get in the elevator with him, you know, and the whole every female in the press corps knew that, right, don't get in elevator with him. Now people are saying it out loud. And I think that does make a difference."
"As we all know, Cokie Roberts is a lefty, as is 99% of the female press corps. Does anyone doubt, then, that the primary elevator gropers are/were Democrats, are/were Ted Kennedy/Franken/Conyers-types who voted the way in which the females press corps wanted them to vote, so a little snatch of media-bootie in an elevator was considered a small price to pay for abortion-on-demand?
"And this is why, in my opinion, Congress has gotten away with covering up these taxpayer-funded sexual harassment settlements for two decades. The media has known about this. Of course they have. Nothing was reported, though, because the names on that list are primarily Democrat 'icons' like Conyers."
At some point soon, though, critical mass could be reached and people (like Roberts) will have to start naming names. And if enough accusers come forward, emboldened by today's "#MeToo" climate, the dominoes will start to fall. It will be inevitable.
A third way Congress could be forced to clean up its own act is the court of public opinion. So, even if congressional leaders are unwilling to remove a Franken or Conyers (should they, indeed, be worthy of being removed) voters might make their reelection impossible.
Not every politician is scandal-proof. Not every politician can continue to raise money and garner support when plagued with ugly accusations, especially if proven true. And if a candidate is no longer viable, will his party stand with him? If an Al Franken is not removed by his peers in Congress, might his own party peers end up removing him by backing another candidate?
In this way too, like it or not, Congress could take action against itself and affect a major purge, which could radically upend expectations in 2018 and 2020. Who knows where the Republican and Democrat numbers could end up when the shaking is over?
Ideally, Senators and Representatives could choose to do the right thing without external pressure, fixing corrupt laws and reversing corrupt customs. And there are certainly enough congressional leaders who are people of integrity and courage.
The question remains: How deep is the pit and how widespread is the corruption? And do the people of conscience have the ability to take down the corrupt backroom dealmakers?
Soon enough, we shall see. Things could get really ugly really soon. Like it or not.
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A liberal newspaper, joined by restless conservatives, are picking apart a new accusation about Brett Kavanaugh in college while a top aide to President Donald Trump is blaming Democrats and the "MeToo Movement" for attempting to destroy the nominee.