It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native criminal class except Congress,” Mark Twain once observed. Computations remain to be performed; investigations have not been completed. But with GOP heavyweights jettisoning Jack Abramoff's contributions faster than you can say “cooperating with prosecutors,” history may prove Twain right. Again.
Twain may be known for one thing among eighth-grade readers. But for those of us who need someone to make sense of a reality in which fiction is constantly presented to us as fact, Twain's bulldozing satire -- he excelled precisely at exposing the nonsensical while pretending to embrace it -- offers both stinging insight and singular comfort.