Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Let the chips fall where they may

Who can resist the obvious metaphors?
GOP senate candidate Van Hilleary - Mr. Indian Casino himself - is rolling the dice with the start of his "official announcement swing" through Tennessee. Mind you, Van's been a candidate for months now, but it ain't official until he does the "official announcement swing."
Missing from Van's announcement swing road show this go around will be Van's long time friend and political confidente Jack Abramhoff. You remember "Black Jack" Abramhoff don't you? The infamous D.C. gaming lobbyist turned convicted felon. The dapper dean of GOP K Street lobbyists who recently was forced to trade in his Brooks Brothers pin stripes for prison stripes.
Van and Black Jack go back a ways. Since the mid-1990s Black Jack has made considerable $$ contributions to Van's various political coffers to the tune of $18,250. Much of the funds came to Van via a host of Black Jack's Indian tribe clients seeking political support for their gambling operations. Abramhoff even personally gave Van contributions totalling $1,750; certainly enough $$ to have earned Abramhoff a front row seat for Van's mmost recent "official announcement swing." But alas, Abramhoff's sentencing judge must not have seen the value in granting a reprieve to permit Abramhoff to join Van for his "official announcement swing" in Tennessee. Just think of all the missed grip-and-grin photo opportunities! After all, Black Jack loves getting his picture made with politicians he bankrolled.
So why the fuss now over Van, Abramhoff and Indian gambling interests?
It's about the hypocrisy stupid.
Van Hilleary, in an attempt to woo the faction of GOP primary voters who are opposed to gambling on moral grounds, has been boldly stating of late that he is "staunchly opposed" to the evils of all gambling. His spokeswoman has even gone on record declaring that Van has always, and will forever opposed gambling on moral grounds.
Oh really? Perhaps she's not playing with a full deck (there I go again!).
The facts are that Van Hilleary as a Congressman voted IN FAVOR of Indian gambling interests not once, but at least twice, in 1999 and again in 2001.
And then there are those Indian tribe contributions I referenced earlier.
So what is Van to do about all this on his "official announcement swing" through Tennessee?
Dodge the issue of course.
But just because a politician like Van wants to avoid facing the truths of his record doesn't mean he can't - or shouldn't - be held accountable.
Van, it's time to put all your cards on the table and let the chips fall where they may.