Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Wednesday, June 16, 2004  

"It's my opinion Mr. DeLay is the most corrupt politician in America today. The credibility of this great institution is under attack. This attack on Congress comes in the form of serious criminal acts, including bribery, extortion, fraud, money laundering and the abuse of power."

Rep. Chris Bell (D-Texas), after filing ethics charges against Tom DeLay yesterday

This is a big hairy deal. It is absolutely a political attack--a dirty, low-down shot from a lame-duck Congressman that was probably engineered by Pelosi and the House Dems. It's a sneak attack that will do the maximum damage at the worst time but with minimal likelihood of blowback. DeLay is--pardon my French--a rat bastard, and is long overdue to suffer for his misdeeds. But the attack is a scud fired from the peanut gallery, not a forward assault. Call it what it is: a cheap shot.

What irony.

DeLay is the king of cheap, the dirtiest and most corrupt politician in America (Bell's right about that). He'd roll an old lady for her purse if he needed the money--and then blame it on the nearest Democrat. His political record is littered with benchmarks of unfair play. He doesn't just push the envelope on legal tactics, he tears it up. So for him to find himself, ah DeLayed, is a delight to behold.

But the charges are serious and legitimate, and that's what makes them so potent, never mind the politicking:

[1] That DeLay illegally solicited and accepted political contributions from the Kansas-based Westar Energy Corporation in return for legislative favors. Westar executives, lobbying for a provision in a major energy bill, in 2002 contributed $58,200 to various campaigns and political action committees, including $25,000 to DeLay's PAC, Texans for a Republican Majority.

[2] That the same political action committee in September, 2002, sent $190,000 in corporate funds to the Republican National Committee "in an apparent money-laundering scheme" intended to provide funds for GOP candidates to the Texas state legislature.

[3] That in 2003, when the Texas legislature was battling over the GOP plan to carry out redistricting that could gain Republicans five or so more seats in the House, DeLay abused his office to urge federal agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, to track down Democrats who had left Austin to prevent Republicans from getting a quorum to vote on the plan.

The Democrats were sharp to have Bell pursue the charges--they knew DeLay would try to wreck his career (and maybe his life) as payback. As an outgoing Representative, though, he's a shadow for DeLay to fight.

Most importantly, it appears to represent a turning point in the way Democrats are willing to play ball. For ten years, since the Gingrich-led revolt, Republicans have shown that they'll stop at nothing (including calling the cops on the Dems) to take and keep power. For those ten years, the Democrats continued to play by the chivalrous code of parliament. They were in a knife fight, but they thought it was a game of chess. This move makes me think they've finally recognized what they're up against.

Everyone wants Rummy's head, but DeLay is the real center of cancer in government. Nice to see the Democrats have pulled out their knives to try to cut him out.

posted by Jeff | 8:51 AM |
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