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Story Archives: An early Christmas gift for Democrats
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|An early Christmas gift for Democrats|
U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens' indictment by a federal grand jury for failing to report more than $250,000 in gifts from a firm that sought federal funding from the Republican senator of Alaska brought to mind the 2006 midterm elections.
Remember the 2006 election cycle?
That was the year Democrats regained control of the U.S. House and Senate amid an atmosphere of allegations that some members of the Congress were bought and paid for by lobbyists. Republicans were front and center amidst the controversy, though it should be noted that no Republican member of the Louisiana congressional delegation was or has been implicated of any shenanigans.
Throughout the 2006 campaign, Democrats pledged to clean up Capitol Hill, or stomp out a corrupt era of discontent they claimed Republicans ushered onto the scene since taking control of the Congress following the 1994 elections. Democrats also promised to reform Congress' bad habit of securing federal funding, or "earmarks," for projects that, according to critics of the process, should be funded by local governments.
At least that's what Democrats said they were going to do once they assumed their new leadership positions in the event Congress turned Democratic, which it did.
It is a forgone conclusion Republicans suffered immensely at the polls two years ago because Democrats were successful in convincing the electorate in many regions of the country the GOP was the party of fat cats who enjoyed being wined and dined by so-called high powered lobbyists. Democrats also hit a home run in 2006 in convincing voters the war in Iraq had gone sour because of decisions made by Republican members of the Congress and the leader of their party, President Bush.
While Democrats -- under the guidance of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi -- said they would reform the so-called "earmark" process, they have not lifted a finger to change one aspect of Congress' penchant for spending the people's money on items, or projects, that clearly are the responsibility of local governments. Democrats have done squat, too, to put an end to U.S. military involvement in Iraq, which they claimed they would do while campaigning two years ago.
Yet, the timing of Stevens' indictment -- weeks prior to the fall congressional elections -- could not have come at a worse time for Republicans. It handed Democrats fresh campaign material in which they can attempt to convince the electorate the GOP is the party that has corrupted the political process at the capitol, though any thinking person realizes the actions of a few can play havoc for many.
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