|Goodlatte embarrassed us all with his blatant power grab.|
Goodlatte is the head of the House Judiciary Committee--a result of his long tenure (he was originally in favor of term limits. A as such he presented a new House rule for consideration yesterday that would have essentially erased oversight of ethics--and even legal--violations of members of the House, especially Republicans who would take over that oversight. It would have meant, in essence, that Republicans, experts at investigating Democrats on even the most outrageous of charges and evidence, would have the authority to continue that and ignore their own indiscretions.
That's Republican government as we've come to understand it, but it is so brazen this time--coming on the first hour of the first day of their takeover of the House, Senate, presidency and, soon, the Supreme Court. It is a counter-democracy move, one more comfortable in a banana republic where power is the only game.
The New York Times, in an editorial, didn't seem to know whether to be outraged or amused. It wrote: "The claim by [House Speaker Paul] Ryan and Mr. Goodlatte (who, hilariously, leads the House Judiciary Committee) that gutting the office would improve 'due process' for accused lawmakers is a marvel of Orwellian newspeak. So is Mr. Goodlatte’s insistence that dismantling the O.C.E. 'builds upon and strengthens' it."
This is the same Goodlatte who, as chairman of the Agriculture Committee a few years ago, rammed through what he called the "Healthy Forest Initiative," which would have allowed timber companies to cut down the largest trees in the forest in order to make the forest healthy. He's the man who would head a committee charged with impeaching Trump, if it comes to that. He's the man who was in favor of term limits before he was against it (the minute it applied to him). He's the guy who keeps introducing legislation for a flat tax, the tax that is the most regressive possible, hurting the poorest most of all. The list of his legislative and ethical lapses are so long as to be almost comical.
The Times noted the absurdness of "Mr. Goodlatte and his gang, saying House Republicans had a 'mandate' to curb 'overzealousness' over ethics." How does one become "overzealous" with his honesty?
Ryan, says The Times "suggested he was more worried about how bad this fracas looks for him than about his members’ effort to undermine congressional accountability."
Among those on Goodlatte's side in this nastiness were several members of the House who were investigated for bribery and corruption last year. Bribery has become so rampant with these men (almost always) that I don't suspect they see it as a crime these days.
If there is any good news at all in this latest debacle, it is that calls from angry citizens got this mess straightened out. Frankly, I didn't believe that possible these days because Republicans are not only in complete power, but they have made it nearly impossible to defeat people like Goodlatte because of laughable gerrymandering of district voting lines.
(Photo: International Business Times)