Thursday, September 29, 2005

Gettin' Hammered

The other shoe has dropped.

The ethics cloud hanging over Rep. Tom Delay of Texas became a bit darker yesterday, with his indictment. Because of a House rule that forbids any person who is indicted to remain in leadership, Delay stepped down temporarily at least.

Of course, Delay is innocent until proven guilty. However, with that said, it sure looks bad.

This Republican is not shedding tears over his misfortune. If he hasn't totally broken laws (which I believe he has), he has at least danced close to the line and hasn't even tried to appear upright. He has become the symbol of the corruption that plauges the Republican party.

It's sad that it only took a decade for the Grand Old Party to become as corrupt as the Democrats were pre-1994, and their slide into corruption took forty years.

It's time for Republicans who put country before party to lead the charge to clean house. We need to eschew the grab for power and put together a vision for governing this nation of ours. And it has to happen quickly. A good first step for reform is to keep Delay out of power permanently. He is damaged goods and would only drag the party down further.

The 2006 mid-term elections could very well be the GOP's 1994 if the Dems get their act together. While I would rather see the GOP in power, I don't think that would be a bad thing: losing could force the Republicans to change for the better.

Here are what some other people are saying about the Delay indictment:

Jeremy over at Charging RINO truly lives up to his blog's name, giving Delay no quarter:

DeLay is a powerful symbol of the cancer within today's Republican party, the rottenness that has taken control of a once Grand Old Party and turned it into little more (and there are, of course, exceptions) than a collection of sycophants and automatons, robotically attending fundraisers and voting the party line.

This Republican's not going to defend Tom DeLay. I'm not going to say he's been a "great majority leader" or a "good ally" or anything else. He's a liability to our party, and he ought to resign permanently as Majority Leader. If he does not, if he returns to his post under any circumstances, our entire caucus will be painted with the same slimy brush of ethical stink - and frankly I don't want that to be my GOP.

Bull Moose says the revolution of 1994 is over:

"The Bug Man is the most representative leader of what the congressional wing of the GOP has become. The promise of the 1994 Republican takeover of the House of Representatives was to reform the institution and promote conservative principles of limited government, fiscal prudence, and the rights of states and localities. The Republican pledge, summed up in the now laughable Contract with America, was to end the crony culture that had developed during 40 years of Democratic control.

"But after a decade of Republican rule, with DeLay calling most of the shots, the new boss is identical to the old boss -- and maybe even worse. Like the French revolutionaries who stormed the Bastille and then created their own reign of terror, the Republicans who seized power on a promise of clean management now run the House with an appalling indifference to ethical standards."

The Washington Post has a good editorial:

In his drive to consolidate Republican power, Mr. DeLay has consistently pushed, and at times stepped over, ethical boundaries.

He is, as we said last year, an ethical recidivist -- unabashed about using his legislative and political power to reward supporters and punish opponents, and brazen in how he links campaign contributions and political actions. Among the DeLay activities that have drawn disapproval from the House ethics committee: threatening a trade association for daring to hire a Democrat; enlisting federal aviation officials to hunt for Democratic state legislators trying to foil his Texas redistricting plan; and holding a golf fundraiser for energy companies just as the House was to consider energy legislation.

Nonetheless, at least on the evidence presented so far, the indictment of Mr. DeLay by a state prosecutor in Texas gives us pause. The charge concerns the activities of Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC), a political action committee created by Mr. DeLay and his aides to orchestrate the GOP's takeover of the Texas legislature in 2002. The issue is whether Mr. DeLay and his political aides illegally used the group to evade the state's ban on corporate contributions to candidates. The indictment alleges that TRMPAC took $155,000 in corporate contributions and then sent a check for $190,000 to the national Republican Party's "soft money" arm. The national committee then wrote $190,000 in checks from its noncorporate accounts to seven Texas candidates. Perhaps most damning, TRMPAC dictated the precise amount and recipients of those donations.

The Los Angeles Times editorializes that the real scandal concerning Delay is not what he did in Texas, but what he truly believes in:

the real scandal in Washington, as someone once said, isn't what's illegal, it's what's legal. DeLay has practically made a career out of testing the boundaries on ethics — and going far beyond them politically. The House Ethics Committee knows him on a first-name basis, having admonished him three times in the last year for activity that stretches back more than four years. The Texas grand jury that indicted him on Wednesday has been investigating possible legal violations by DeLay and his associates for months.

Yet DeLay is more than the sum of his ethical lapses. He also has a long history of hypocrisy. During the Clinton administration, he criticized the bombing of Kosovo, saying that U.S. foreign policy was "formulated by the Unabomber"; six years later he chastised Democrats for criticizing U.S. policy in Iraq, saying they were "putting American lives at risk." His calls for the federal government to play a smaller role in Americans' lives were betrayed by his demands that it intervene in the case of Terri Schiavo.

Hypocrisy is the occupational hazard of politics. DeLay, however, is a special case, a partisan so unprincipled that not even his allies pretend that he stands for anything; his nickname, "The Hammer," comes from his ability to enforce party discipline. DeLay's indictment will lead to an increase in demagoguery on both sides of the aisle. But the real problem isn't what DeLay may have done, it's what he stands for.


At 9:49 AM, Blogger halfback jack said...

IMHO, Tom DeLay makes the late Richard Milhous Nixon look like a Boy Scout Leader and former Speaker Newt Gingrich look like a choir boy.

The Republicans need to get rid of him and the Democrats need to start acting like leaders and not just a bunch of whiners.

One has to wonder if there will EVER be a scenario where the moderates from both sides of the aisle can have their day to demonstrate bipartisanship and leadership.

At 1:09 AM, Blogger dorsano said...

Corruption swears allegiance to no party though it probably favors the party in power. One measure of character is how swiftly the corruption is dealt with.

At 6:58 AM, Blogger halfback jack said...

...and EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas! ;-)

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Kirkrrt said...

Dorsano is right. Both parties are filled with bought and paid for politicians. Being the majority party just means the spotlight is on you more than the minority.
Notice how the accused wrongdoing in TX occured while the republicans were the minority party, but have come into the light at this time.
America needs serious campaign finance reform.


Post a Comment

<< Home

!-- End .box -->