Sunday, January 15, 2006

Times Union Takes A Swipe @ Sweeney

And such a nice boy, too:
Original is here:

"Rep. Sweeney, reformer

He proposes a bold idea, then backs away in favor of a less ambitious plan
 

First published: Sunday, January 15, 2006

It's unlikely to make the Almanac of American Politics, the authoritative reference book for keeping tabs on members of Congress. And it's not about to be in U.S. Rep. John Sweeney's campaign literature as he runs for re-election this fall, either.

For all of a day or two, though, the Republican congressman from Clifton Park had the credentials of a reformer for the ages, surpassing anything proposed by any of his 434 colleagues in the House of Representatives.

Having the Republicans elect a new majority leader to replace the disgraced, and indicted, Tom DeLay of Texas wasn't enough, Mr. Sweeney was saying. All the leadership posts should be up for a vote, including the one Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois holds.

Mr. Sweeney was right. The House, actually all of Congress, is engulfed in its biggest collective scandal in a generation. How different would things be, then, if Mr. Hastert remained in power but all the lesser positions were open to change?

Shouldn't Mr. Hastert be held to higher standards than ever?

As Mr. Sweeney himself told us on Tuesday, the people aspiring to lead the House and its Republican majority conference ought to 'come affirmatively before us and avow that they present no problems to Congress and to our majority.'

It wasn't an attack on Mr. Hastert, at least not directly. Nor should it be.

Again, to quote Mr. Sweeney, this time from his recollection of a phone conversation between them: 'This isn't some coup d'etat. This is an opportunity that offers us a momentum to provide leadership.'

That momentum, though, was gone just a day after. On Wednesday, Mr. Sweeney backed away from his bold idea. Committee chairmen might have to face a vote of confidence of sorts for their posts. And so will the contenders to succeed Mr. DeLay. But nothing changes at the top. The status quo will only be so different.

It's not that Mr. Sweeney has a bad idea as he goes about circulating a petition of support for his proposal. Not at all. It's just that last week he had a much better one."
Look, it's all about planting a ill-formulated, thin seed. Then people will half-remembered, which is good enough. Look like a call for reform without actually being one.

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