When the smoke cleared, he was doing 43 months in a federal pen, and 22 other individuals received some sort of criminal penalty. The scandal wrecked the career of Tom DeLay, though it did get him on Dancing with the Stars. And the sweatshop industry collapsed on Saipan. The owners took off, leaving a major environmental disaster behind them. In the last 10 years, the population of the Northern Marianas has fallen by over 22 percent.
Left standing—as if through some kind of weird, otherworldly intervention—were Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed. Mr. Reed’s lieutenant governor run did collapse, which must have been a relief to the governor of Georgia, who no longer had to worry about falling down a spiral staircase, or having a stone gargoyle drop on him, or any of those other fates that always seemed to befall those who stood in Damien’s way in the Omen movies back in the ’70s.
But now Mr. Reed is back, with his new Faith and Freedom Coalition, still working the same old grift. He has reportedly raised between $10 million and $12 million for the Romney campaign, and promises many millions more. Even more important, he is working assiduously to give the Mormon nominee Jesus cover, insisting that Mr. Romney is a true friend to the evangelicals.
Left unanswered, of course, is how is it that a regime that literally rapes workers and then forces them to have abortions can possibly be said to be Christian—or conservative. Is it really “small government” just because it doesn’t call itself a government?
But no one was about to ask that question down in Tampa. Grover was back, and so was the devil, resplendent in pink and green. And the Republican platform included the following plank: “No minimum wage for the Mariana Islands. The Pacific territories should have flexibility to determine the minimum wage, which has seriously restricted progress in the private sector.” Amen.