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The missing ingredient in the Abramoff scandals - the sex angle revealed

Reported by Chrish - January 6, 2006

I noted Tuesday that the media ought to be able to make the Abramoff scandals interesting to the public, seeing as how it has all the right ingredients for a dramatic mystery:

"Perhaps what the "news" business needs is more talent who can take a story of bribes, corruption, secrets, power, money, glamour, excesses, wheeling and dealing, and make it interesting. Hire the writers from Dynasty and Dallas (dating myself here, I know) and let them weave the storyline for the "folks" who have to be entertained all the time. Just use the raw data and it will be shocking, and sickening, and infuriating, enough"

But really, what's missing from the recipe? Sex, of course. No doubt there's plenty of that going on in these power-circles but so far it's kept well under wraps. Yesterday 1/5/06 on The Big Story John Gibson made mention of the scorned lover who may have started the whole investigation.

Gibson had as his guest Larry Sabato, Director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, to discuss how these bureoning scandals would affect Republicans and control of the House in the mid-term elections. (On FOX it's always about the Republicans.)

Gibson allowed that Republicans and to a lesser extent some Democrats are going to be named by Abramoff as part of his plea agreement, and that the presumed charge, bribery, normally ruins Congressional careers. He asked, what's the scorecard? How does it look for the Republicans emerging still holding Congress with these scandals nipping at their heels?

Sabato said that although Abramoff gave names of 201 contribution recipients and Gibson said that as many as 60 members could get snagged in the scandal, he (Sabato) would be surprised if the number of indictments reached double digits. Of those, it remains to be seen how many are Democrats. How the scandal will be framed, bi-partisan or Republican, will depend on that.

Gibson seeks to portray it as a normal part of the ebb and flow, a cyclical happening in politics: as you look back at two-term presidencies, whether Democrat or Republican, in the sixth year some crooks start getting caught. He asks if it's the normal course of things or is there something really special about this one?

Sabato agrees that, taking the long view, every 10 or 20 years there is a major political scandal, legislation is passed, pols moderate their behavior, and after a little while they figure out a new way to game the system. That's life, he says - it probably happens in every profession. (Comment: Yeah, shrug it off.)

Gibson asks the all-important question - are there seats in play that could be lost because of this, that could turn the House over to the Democrats? (Comment: Somehow, as he's asking this, you get the feeling that this would be the worst possible result of the corruption - Democrats could have a say in our government again. Oh the horror.) Sabato says there are not that many seats in play in 2006 and Dems would need to pick up 14, making it sound unlikely. As far as I know, there are 435 seats that could be in play if people are fed up enough.

Changing direction, Gibson says that the scandals that receive the most attention are sex scandals and this isn't one. Sabato says "not yet". Then Gibson mentions that Wonkette has blogged that the reason this all began is a jilted lover, a woman named Emily J. Miller who was once engaged to marry Michael Scanlon, Abramoff's former cohort who has already pled guilty to various charges. The whole background on Miller is at rawstory.com . Apparently angry at her fiance for breaking up with her and becoming involved with another woman, Ms. Miller turned Scanlon in to the FBI.

The woman who started it all?

Sabato said that historically the scandals that attract public attention and result in defeats in Congress are scandals that involve sex; people read them more closely and the media covers it more.

So now we have the missing ingredient for the great American political mystery drama thriller romance novel. If it's trash they want, Fox is the place to go for it. It will be interesting to see them torn between their political loyalties and their corporate greed.

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