An op-ed in Saturday's New York Times by Matthew Continetti, a conservative writer for The Weekly Standard, examines the role that Rick Santorum's baby - the K Street Project - has played in bringing about the recent corruption scandals involving Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff. Here's his take on it:
Led by Mr. DeLay in the House, Rick Santorum in the Senate and Grover Norquist downtown, Republicans worked not just toward the partisan realignment of the country, but of the influence industry, too. They tracked which lobbyists were Democrats and which Republicans, refused to meet with the Democrats and pressured business groups and law firms to hire the conservatives. Their strenuous efforts to blur the boundaries between corporate America and the Republican Party came to be known as the K Street Project.
It was an incredible success. By 2002, if you look at numbers from the Center for Responsive Politics, industries that had long made bipartisan campaign contributions largely abandoned the Democrats, leaving Republicans with an overwhelming edge in corporate donations. By 2004, the lobbyists themselves gave the Republicans $1 million more than they gave Democrats. The number of Republican lobbyists grew. And so did the number of lobbyists, period - from about 9,000 when the Republicans took power to more than 34,000 today.
Now the seamy side of all this explosive growth, the fundraising and lobbying scandals like those plaguing Mr. DeLay and Mr. Abramoff, poses a serious threat to Republican power.
At the end of his article, Continetti tells us that there is a silver lining to these scandals for young conservatives like himself:
But then you take solace in the idea that the Republican Party has once again bested the Democrats, who after all took 40 years to sprout the warts of power.
Well, then I suppose congratulations are in order.