What a show: Harry Reid blasts
Senate Republicans over the asbestos
legislation, making the first major statement about the influence of lobbyists on legislation. Arlen Specter (R-allshownogo) seems to have taken it personally. CNN
has the story:
"Washington has been run by the lobbyists. The Jack Abramoff scandal is no surprise," Reid said in his opening remarks.I'M SHOCKED, SHOCKED I SAY, CONTINUES
Corporations that without the bill might be required to pay billions in legal awards to victims should be "jumping with joy," Reid added. "They were able to buy their way into the Senate paying for a bunch of lobbyists."
"Slander!" responded Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the bill's sponsor, whose stewardship of the legislation for more than two years helped it survive the committee process. Monday, it became the first new legislation considered by the Senate this year.
"To accuse us of being the pawns of the lobbyists is -- is -- is beyond slander, beyond insult," Specter stammered. "It's beyond outrage."
Of course, Arlen won't stammer about Veep Dick Cheney, whose ties to the asbestos litigation
should be well-known by this point. And he won't stammer about the campaign contributions to the GOP. Or any other fact.
Politics in the post-
Karl Rove era ain't beanbag.
The GOP may denounce us as rude, but I could give a big rat's ass at this point. The downside is two-fold:firstly, several Democrats have staked out the opposite position, eg Feinstein, Leahy. Secondly, it may be that Specter and others will be less likely to see their way clear to join dems in condemning the administration's domestic spying crime spree. Of course, what were the odds that Specter would, in the end, make a courageous stand, anyway?
The Abramoff scandal is a huge card and the Dems are right to play it now. GOP/Bush efforts to obfuscate, derail and delay the Abramoff-related investigations and the trials are already evident. Asbestos funding is clearly special interest legislation that fills the bill. The NYT, in a shortsighted and onesided Rovean editorial, objects with a smear, similar in tone to Specter's "shocked" comments:
it's shocking to hear Mr. Reid threatening now to block a bipartisan bill that would finally bring justice and compensation to victims of asbestos-related diseases. We can't imagine what Mr. Reid is trying to achieve, other than showing fealty to the trial lawyers who have been so generous to his party."
While there are some good features of the bill, it seems that most victims' groups
are opposed the bill in its present form. Critics of Reid seem to ignore the fact that Reid's efforts will hopefully expose corporate welfare and help insure that whatever legislation is passed will be the best possible law, and not allow corporations to evade responsibiity. Giving up one's right to sue is a huge concession, and must be balanced by strong guarantees.
Give em hell, Harry !! Bribelot comes home to roost !!