Corruption and Scandal, Texas-Size

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in Washington, April 26. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

I am glad that The Dispatch has so many excellent politics-and-policy reporters on the job—goodness knows they provide an invaluable service. But the man we most need for our political moment has, inconveniently, been off the job for 160 years, having died in 1863. I mean, of course, Vanity Fair (the novel, not the magazine) author William Makepeace Thackeray, who remains unequaled in his skill for describing a world in which “everybody is striving for what is not worth the having.” 

Journalism is all we have to rely on in a world that is beyond satire.

Late last week, the political world was filled with great pith and moment as Democrats enjoyed a festive mood over the 37-count federal indictment of former President Donald Trump, while Republicans produced a whole Yoko Ono greatest-hits album’s worth of shrieking and wailing. 

At the same time in Texas, the feds were arresting a guy you non-Texans had probably never heard of: Nate Paul, a 36-year-old real-estate developer and political sycophant who figures prominently in the troubles of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican culture-war goof who has been impeached by the Republican state house in response to a long and complicated tale of political corruption, bribery, and retaliation.

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