Here’s an interesting piece in Slate comparing the three scandals of Abramoff, Pellicano, and Jared Paul Stern and how they each reflect on their respective city. Of course, here in Washington we could care less about wiretapped Hollywood stars or bribery on Page Six. But we do care about influence being bought and sold:
Washington’s scandal is about influence, a commodity bought and sold there as it is nowhere else. … Much as his former colleagues may try to deny it, Abramoff’s practices were not a departure from the way Washington ordinarily does business, but rather a too-brazen expression of it. Nearly all lobbyists-for-hire brandish their connections at the White House and on Capitol Hill to impress their clients. They grease the skids with campaign donations, favors, and fancy entertainment. Stylistically, they tend to echo Abramoff’s ostentatious religious piety, his humorless self-regard, his regrettable wardrobe choices. Though a horrible cartoon, Abramoff also represents the reality of Bush’s Washington. His distinguishing, fatal error was to draw too much attention to himself while doing on a grander scale what thousands do there every day.