Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Johnson, Murphy and the Sleaze merchants

One can well understand why U.S. Rep Nancy Johnson would wish to put a ten foot pole between herself and Jack Abramoff, the beltway lobbyist and wheeler dealer recently sentenced for sleaze peddling.The once powerful Republican Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tom DeLay, this morning announced he will be resigning his seat, news reports indicate, because he failed to put a ten foot pole between himself and Abramoff.

And so, smeared by a MoveOn.org ad that “links” Johnson with Abramoff, the Johnson campaign called upon her likely Democrat opponent, Christopher Murphy, to condemn the add.

The “link” between Johnson and Abramoff is more than tenuous; it is non-existent. Johnson had never accepted money from Abramoff, unlike Democrat Party Chairman Harry Reid who, according to a February Associated Press report, “collected nearly $68,000 in donations from Abramoff’s firm, lobbying partners and clients” over a three year period.

The MoveOn.org ad “links” Johnson with more than $300,000 in campaign contributions from the energy industry during her 24-year tenure in Congress. An announcer then paints “Tom DeLay, Dick Cheney, and Jack Abramoff ’’as protective of Big Oil. “And now Nancy Johnson,” the announcer continues, “Another Republican caught red-handed.”

The ad does not explain what, precisely, Johnson was caught doing. No less sleazy than Abramoff himself, the ad probably will pass a legal sniff test. It does not specifically accuse Johnson of accepting bribes from Abramoff, but the senior citizens Johnson has been in the habit of courting during her campaigns are not likely to note such subtleties. The object of such ads is to throw mud and hope some of it sticks to the innocent victims of the ads.

Often described by the main stream media as “a liberal advocacy group,” MoveOn.org is an offshore, extra-party political apparatus of the Democrat Party in hiding. The left-wing anti-Republican apparatchiks are financed by George Soros, a multi-billionaire funny money handler who made oodles of cash years ago breaking the Bank of London.

On “Black Wednesday, September 16, 1992, Soros earned a little more that $1 billion when he capitalized on the reluctance of the Bank of England to raise its interest rates or float its currency. By buying stocks and selling short, Soros became known as “the man who broke the bank of England.” And during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, he was accused by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad of bringing down the Malaysian currency, the ringgit.

“Most ways of earning money,” Henry David Thoreau once said, “lead downward.” But not always: Abramoff went down; Soros went up.

Johnson’s campaign responded quickly to the MoveOn ad by releasing an ad that says, “"A radical group whose ads have been called `shameful' and `misleading' is at it again - helping politician Chris Murphy. This group compared America's leaders to Nazis."

Murphy responded to the Johnson ad by pointing out that he is not connected to MoveOn.org and accusing Johnson of hypocrisy. "The difference,” Murphy said, “is she controls the content of her ad. I don't control or have anything to do with the content of the MoveOn.org ad. It seems totally hypocritical to respond to an ad that she thinks unfairly links her with Jack Abramoff with her own ad that unfairly links me to MoveOn.org."

The Johnson campaign called upon Murphy to address and denounce the content of the MoveOn ad -- which should be a snap for someone who does not seek to benefit from his non-connection to MoveOn.org, Soros, Abramoff or Nazis.

The real villains here are extra-party organizations financed by groups of people who, because they operate outside major political institutions, are answerable to no one. Murphy’s campaign probably would not have released the objectionable Johnson ad because Murphy would have been held responsible for such patent misrepresentations by Connecticut voters – who have no influence upon MoveOn.org or its financiers.

This mess is a perfect example of the downside of campaign finance reform: Regulations that trim the influence of political parties increase, at the same time, the influence of both lobbyists like Abramoff and extra-party political activist groups like MoveOn.org. A party capable of funding all its own candidates, both incumbents and challengers, would need neither Abramoff nor MoveOn. org.

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