Now that the Alito hearings are over, the next big debate will probably be focusing on who will or should be the next House Majority Leader now that Tom DeLay is gone. Currently their are three candidates and the decision is to be made on Feb 2nd.
Each candidate is promising ethical reform if elected as majority leader. This ought to be real interesting. How to get the corruption out of a corrupt system. Or how to make selling influence look like it's not selling influence. That is what lobbiest do, sell their influence with senator x or congressman y for a fee.
As long as we have a mixed economy there will be no way to eliminate corruption and the buying of legislation and votes. Even if all gift giving were banned you still have the spectacle of an elected official getting millions of dollars in campaign contrbutions from so-called special-interest groups in return for favorable legislation. It's not the trinkits Abramoff was peddling in return for favorable legislation that are the problem. It's the government's creation of a market place for the buying and selling of legislation that is the problem. That's the lobbying industry. As long as it exists we will be a nation of men and not of laws.
Of course the only way to stop it is to get the government out of the business of regulating the economy. There is no doubt but that America needs to be moved towards laissez-faire capitalism and the best start I think would be to concentrate on breaking up a major establishment, education.
An establishment is an institution where truth is "established" by decree rather than the pursuit of facts. Such is the state of public education today. Begin a process of privatizing education and the people will learn that the regulated society of today is built on false premises. Once they learn this they will start to do away with it.
There is something else about the Abramoff affair that stinks. Notice how Abramoff is being protrayed as the villian--the only villian. Everyone else is held up as his innocent victims who didn't know how evil he was, but now that they know, they hasten to give back whatever money they recieved.
When I was growing up the adults in my life taught me that a bribe was a two way affair; that those who take bribes are just as guilty as those who offer them. In fact, the bribor had an edge of moral superiority over the bribee because the bribee has the power to nix the deal, thus the bribee shares more of the guilt than the bribor. So, when I hear all these bribees rushing to assure me that they support tougher ethics rules, well, I have to role Mike's Eyes.