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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Third Party Reformers Aided by Abramoff?

Although Fineman is concentrating on the likes of McCain, I think he raises an interesting larger question, which is: how can we third party progressive independent types leverage this situation to advance reform?

Winners and losers in the Abramoff scandal The GOP could suffer, opening the way for a third-party movement
By Howard Fineman

(big snip)

WINNERS

Third-party reform movement: If Sen. John McCain doesn’t win the Republican presidential nomination, I could see him leading an independent effort to “clean up” the capital as a third-party candidate. Having been seared by his own touch with this type of controversy (the Keating case in the '80s, which was as important an experience to him as Vietnam), McCain could team up with a Democrat, say, Sen. Joe Lieberman. If they could assemble a cabinet in waiting — perhaps Wes Clark for defense, Russ Feingold for justice, Colin Powell for anything — they could win the 2008 election going away.

Public Integrity Section: The Abramoff case is proof, at least so far, that it’s possible for lifers in the bureaucracy to still have a corrective influence on politics run amok in the capital. The case has been handled from the start by professionals who do this kind of work out of a sense of loyalty and idealism. We’ll see if Attorney General Alberto Gonzales leaves them alone if they start working their way toward the White House.

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