Political news today reminds us of an important political adage. On Saturday mornings, Democrats sleep in. On Saturday mornings, Republicans get up and clean house.
The point of this adage is that for the last generation, Democrats have assiduously avoided confronting corruption in their own party. Characters like Jim Wright or Bill Clinton take forever to go down, or they don't go down at all. And then there's Senator Ted "Splash" Kennedy.
By contrast, Republicans have quickly moved to purge themselves of corrupt figures. In the 90s, when Newt Gingrich proved corrupt, he was shown the door. When his successor Robert Livingstone proved corrupt, he went out the same door, barely a week later. The party then turned to Mr. Clean, Wheaton College graduate Dennis Hastert, and hasn't had to look back on that one.
Likewise, when the evidence that Nixon obstructed justice was clear, a delegation of Republican senators, including former presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, went to the White House to tell Nixon that they would vote to impeach him. Nixon resigned.
And so today, leading House Republicans indicated that they do not expect Tom DeLay to return to Republican House leadership. They're looking to get ahead of the Abramoff scandal, cleaning house now instead of later.
The Ds, meanwhile, seem to be sleeping in. Never mind that Abramoff's cronies are on both sides of the aisle. The Ds intend to portray the Rs as the party of corruption in 2006.
Note well that SWNID does not ascribe purity to the Rs. They are humans. Worse, they are politicians. But the difference in how each party approaches its foibles is notable.