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Friday, January 13, 2006

Haberman On Abramoff's Hat

DB had the definitive round-up of stories on disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's hat last week. Clyde Haberman rounds out the collection by adding a paragraph in his NYC column from today's NY Times (registration required):
Consider the case of Jack Abramoff, the wheeler-dealer lobbyist at the center of a corruption scandal. Mr. Abramoff is destined to be fitted soon for an orange jumpsuit. But last week, still a free man, he left a Washington courthouse in a black fedora and a black trench coat. The fedora was all that some needed to decide the guy was no good.

"Dressed like a crime boss," a Washington post writer said of him. "He could not have appeared more guilty, more menacing and more unsympathetic than if he had walked out wielding a baseball bat and muttering something about so-and-so sleeping with the fishes."

Mr Abramoff is said to love the "Godfather" films. He is also an Orthodox Jew. There has been some debate over whether he wore the black hat to signal his religiosity in a sympathy ploy or, rather, to get in touch with his inner Luca Brasi. Either way, the fedora itself became an issue.
I highly doubt that Abramoff wore the hat in a ploy to garner sympathy for being an Orthodox Jew. With all the ambiguity about whether he more closely resembled a Godol or a gangster, I think that in order to play the religious card he would (or at least should) have sooner made the choice of donning a Kippah than a Borsalino. Also, is it just me, or does anyone else think that stressing his religious observance would only serve to garner him more public disgust at his actions, rather than more sympathy. As would going for the look of a Mob boss.

Sometimes, a hat is just something one chooses to put on his head - even if it happens to be a particularly poor choice.


Blogger Tzvee Zahavy said...

The Abramoff hat has had some play in the editorial cartoons -


and in general - http://tzvee.blogspot.com/2006/01/george-remember-jack-guy-with-black.html

and he is the subject of ridicule in general - [audio link] http://shows.airamericaradio.com/play.php?file=AARComedy/2006/JANUARY/1-9-06/Abram-Off.wma

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Freud said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

12:18 PM  
Blogger Shifra said...

While it's true that sometimes a hat is just something to keep the rain off your hair, dress is ALWAYS a consideration in legal cases.

Why do you think public defenders always dredge up some kind of suit for their indigent clients? Sorry to say but in court appearance counts. Surely that could not have been lost of Abramoff or his lawyers. I just don't know what they were thinking.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wait and see .Rabbonim wiill come out of the woodwork extolling his acts of chesed.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, is it just me, or does anyone else think that stressing his religious observance would only serve to garner him more public disgust at his actions, rather than more sympathy. As would going for the look of a Mob boss.

I agree with you on this. I think most people already are disgusted by actions because he is always described as an Orthodox Jew.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started wearing a black velvet kipah because I thought it looked nice on me. I had no idea that it would ever be interpreted as some kind of political statement.

9:46 PM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

"I started wearing a black velvet kipah because I thought it looked nice on me. I had no idea that it would ever be interpreted as some kind of political statement."

wow, are you naive. That's exactly why I stopped wearing mine.

1:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I highly doubt that Abramoff wore the hat in a ploy to garner sympathy for being an Orthodox Jew.

On the other hand, according to Frank Rich's column in today's NYT, "In between Mr. Abramoff's guilty pleas in Washington and Florida, he let it be known that he was busy writing Torah commentary."

That's a new one on me.

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Jack Abramoff, former Republican "superlobbyist" and now a convicted and sentenced felon cooperating with federal prosecutors, is the central figure in a web of corruption within the U.S. sportsbook Republican Party, which will likely be the most far-reaching Washington corruption scandal of recent decades. In January 2006, Abramoff reached a plea agreement with Federal prosecutors, in which he pled guilty to a number of felonies and agreed to cooperate with the authorities. bet nfl It is likely that this cooperation will lead to prosecution of numerous Republican lawmakers, staffers, lobbyists, and operatives. Abraham's principal activity was the collection of tens of millions extorted from Indian tribal gambling operations. Much of the money was used to buy influence from Washington Republican figures, sportsbook but a considerable amount was used for self-enrichment or personal pet projects. The disgraced long-time Washington insider whom Congressman Tom DeLay once referred to as one of his "closest and dearest friends," collected $100,000+ for President George W. Bush's re-election campaign, "earning premier status within the campaign" as a Bush Pioneer, http://www.enterbet.com as well as raised funds for GOP congressional candidates
As a Republican Party lobbyist, Abramoff was Senior Director of Government Affairs for the Greenberg Traurig law and lobbying firm from January 2001 to March 2004, when he was fired and became a consultant at the Cassidy & Associates lobbying shop. Abramoff was "brought into Cassidy" by Gregg Hartley, a former top aide to House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Missouri)," according to Roll Call's Brody Mullins

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