In one sense, the current bout of corruption in Washington is explicable enough: politicians, Democrat or Republican, who hold power long anough succumb to its temptations. But in another, it’s a function of the degeneracy of Bush-DeLay conservatism. When conservatives have embraced big government, massive increases in spending, huge new entitlements, a blizzard of earmarks, and an increasingly complex tax code, they have merely increased the incentives for sleaze. As David Broder also points out, some states – Texas stands out, as do many other parts of the South – have a very long history of federal government largess, cronyism and back-door quid pro quos. All we’re seeing is a shameless political culture being nationalized. That used to be LBJ’s mojo. Now, it’s DeLay’s.

QUOTES FOR THE DAY: “Bremer also said he raised his concerns with Bush at a lunch that month and again in June 2003 in a video link with a National Security Council meeting chaired by Bush. ‘I was trying to reach the president’s ear, because I had the impression that the armed services, and possibly Rumsfeld himself, were in a hurry to get our troops home,’ he writes in the book, ‘My Year in Iraq,” … In a memo dated May 18, 2004, Bremer urged Rumsfeld to send more troops. ‘We were trying to cover too many fronts with too few resources,’ attempting to control borders, secure convoy routes and protect Iraq’s infrastructure, Bremer states in his book. ‘We’ve become the worst of all things – an ineffective occupier,’ he says he told Condoleezza Rice, then Bush’s national security adviser.” – Washington Post, yesterday.

“The president said at a National Security Council meeting that he depended on Bremer for a candid assessment of the state of affairs in Iraq. ‘If Bremer’s happy, I’m happy,’ Bush said. ‘If Bremer’s nervous, I’m nervous. If Bremer’s uneasy, I’m uneasy. If Bremer’s optimistic, I’m optimistic.'” – Fred Barnes, in his forthcoming hagiography of the president, “Rebel-In-Chief,” page 100.

What are the odds that Fred’s source for the NSA meeting was not Bremer?

MOHLER AND ROBERTSON: I asked readers to prove me wrong about a major religious right leader dissenting from Pat Robertson’s view that the End-Time will lead to a rapture of the faithful and destruction of the unfaithful; and that God intervenes directly in our lives ot punish sin. Here’s Albert Mohler with a more nuanced position:

God created the world as the theater of His own glory. It is a world of great beauty and wonder; a world that allows crops to grow and provides everything that we physically need. Yet, it is also a world of terrible storms and natural disasters. In part, all this is the result of the devastating effects of human sin. As the Apostle Paul makes clear, the whole creation anticipates the redemption that is to come. But, as we experience the reality of weather after the Fall, we should not trace any particular weather pattern to contemporary human sins. Jesus explained that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. The weather is not fair.

Mohler differs from Robertson in not seeing a specific weather event as God-induced. But he shares with him the notion that all bad things in the universe stem in part from human sin.

– posted by Andrew.