The GOP and Ted Stevens: Lessons Not Learned

Money corrupts.

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Following the Republican drubbing this election, the newspapers and airwaves have been clogged with party pooh-bahs wringing their hands and promising earnest introspection. The GOP must move in a new direction, they've said; the Republican Party must rediscover its soul.

Yesterday gave an indication of what direction that is—straight down the same path that's brought ruin. By 36 to 4, Republican senators overwhelmingly rebuffed an effort by South Carolina's Jim DeMint to impose term limits on its Appropriations Committee members. And this, on the 85th birthday of Sen. Ted Stevens, the (now former) chief Republican appropriator from Alaska convicted of corruption.

So the future of the GOP looks to be more of the same: Grand words about responsibility and change to the "folks back home," and more feckless spending and institutionalized corruption in Washington.

The GOP can mint new bulls like Stevens, and his legacy of willy-nilly bribery—bribery of voters, his own members, and himself—will continue. But so will his other legacy, confirmed last night after two weeks of suspense: He lost.

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