the absurd observers

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Abramoff "everybody's doing it" defense

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Jack Abramoff posted bail with a $2.25 mil. bond for an indictment of wire fraud and conspiracy charges in connection with a gambling boat operation. Abramoff is already under investigation by the Justice Department and congressional committees, under charges that he and his partner defrauded Indian Tribes out of lobbying money. However:
Abramoff's lawyers have said he did nothing wrong and that he and partner
Michael Scanlon are being singled out for activities that are commonplace in
Washington.

The "everybody's doing it" defense. This is a complex idea, slightly eclipsed in sophistication by the "I know you are, but what am I" maneuver and the "Look at my thumb" strategy as illustrated by Otter in Animal House. The beauty of the "everybody's doing it defense" is that it strikes fear in the heart of every well-connected politician that maybe their lobbyist-friend is writing unflattering emails and creating dummy-businesses, run by a lifeguard who will eventually cooperate with an investigation and make them look corrupt by association.

Of course, at the same time, the public might listen to this defense and conclude that, if it is true that everybody is doing it, then maybe that's too much "it" being "do"ed. Will that be the public outcry? Perhaps. But I would venture a guess that more likely than not, people will wonder: Why doesn't this guy have his own tv show?

"Being Jack Abramoff", or "NewlyIndicted", or "Celebrity Alleged Fraud Camp", or "My Big Fat Obnoxious Alleged Wire Frauder", or maybe "Embezzle Eye for the Straight Guy". We'd follow Abramoff through a typical day: eating lunch, reading the newspaper, recording a new rock album, and attending grand jury hearings. Or he could have underling contestants that want to be his assistant, and each day they would compete to get his attention, only to be eliminated at the end of each episode with a line like: "you're guilty by association!" (Though the production company should try and copywrite that phrase before he does.) Each show could end with Abramoff writing on his computer, like Doogie Howser, except Abramoff would be writing another incriminating and offensive email to one of his buddies.

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