Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 5:35 AM
It did not get the media coverage that attended the most recent trial of O.J. Simpson (for burglary), but the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens was high political drama.
After all, here was the longest-serving Republican in the US Senate being tried on seven counts of corruption (stemming from lies he told about free home renovations and other gifts he received from a wealthy oil contractor) while his party was desperately trying not only to seem trustworthy enough to hang on to the White House but also to avoid being rendered utterly powerless in the US Congress.
In fact, Stevens’ conviction on all counts yesterday seems an omen for what I fully expect will be a political bloodbath at the polls for Republicans a week from today.
Because, in addition to John McCain losing the presidency by historic margins to Barack Obama, Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives seem destined to lose so many seats that Democrats could end up with filibuster-proof majorities in both chambers. And this of course would finally rid Washington of the perennial gridlock that has made it impossible in recent years to pass legislation on everything from healthcare and immigration reform to gay civil rights.
(Incidentally, despite McCain spinning Joe-the-plumber nonsense about a socialist agenda, I’m sure the congenitally pragmatic Obama will have a moderating influence on Congressional Democrats, which will prevent them from pursuing a radical, vindictive agenda that could undermine his presidency….)
Nothing demonstrates their consternation over this prospect quite like the way Republicans are beginning to form the proverbial circle to fire blame at each other for their impending doom. And most notable in this respect is the way McCain aides are finally admitting what has been patently obvious to the rest of us from the day McCain chose Sarah Palin as his VP running mate, namely:
Her lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic… It was probably the hardest to get her up to speed than any candidate in history.
[CNN quoting a "top McCain Adviser"]
But another McCain aide left no doubt about how personal the infighting has become when he reportedly accused Palin of “going rouge” (i.e., speaking her mind instead of scripted talking points at campaign rallies) then twisted the knife in her back by adding that:
She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone. She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.
At any rate, with the Republicans so busy going after each other, let’s hope the Democrats have the good sense to simply get out of their way….
Meanwhile, Stevens, 84, faces 35 years in prison. Yet he made a post-conviction prediction that Alaskans will still re-elect him next week to continue his 40-year tenure. But Palin has already embarrassed them so much that I predict Alaskans will bid Stevens good riddance without any hint of sentimentality.
Sen Ted Stevens indicted