Alaska's Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history, was indicted yesterday on seven charges of making false statements about more than $250,000 that corporate executives doled out to overhaul his Anchorage area house.
The Post doesn't quite get it right when it labels the charges as "corruption," which implies that Stevens is charged with providing something of value for the gifts he received. It appears that at this point the charges focus on issues involving the disclosure of gifts and whether Stevens was fully truthful.
Regardless, most in the media are asking the following:
What does this mean for Senator Stevens's reelection?
What are the broader ramifications for the Republicans' efforts to make some headway given the Democrats' problems in running the 110th Congress?
What does this mean for chances that Congress will allow more domestic drilling, a cause Senator Stevens passionately championed?
These are the questions that are being most asked in the media, but I think they are the wrong ones.
The REAL question is what this means for the Senate as an instituion. The only one taking that perspective is The Politico's David Rogers:
Like him or not, Sen. Ted Stevens is an institution, and the news of his indictment is another blow to the Senate, not just because of the man but also because of the nature of the alleged crime.