Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oh frabjous day!

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator and a figure in Alaska politics since before statehood, has been indicted on seven counts of falsely reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars in services he received from a company that helped renovate his home.
Despite concern I've seen expressed that this might open the door to an untainted opponent for Democrat Mark Begicha, I can only see this as a good thing. I expect Stevens to bull his way through the August primary while persisting in his increasingly hollow cries of innocence, and expect the according benefits to accrue to Begicha in November, but electoral considerations pale next to those of sound governance and accountability.

The immediate effect of the indictment is to remove Stevens from his role as Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee. Anything that diminishes Stevens' role in the appropriations process is a good thing.

It's a good thing, too, when one of the poster boys for the Republican culture of corruption that held sway for too long is called to account. As flagrant in his abuse of power as he has been unorthodox in his manipulation of federal appropriations, Stevens isn't simply one of the bad guys, he's one of the worst.

Taking him down, even just a notch for now? Yep, a good thing.

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