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March 15, 2005

The Statesman on Tom DeLay

By Byron LaMasters

Their editorial today:

The steady stream of ethical charges flowing around U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for more than a year are now threatening to inundate him.

DeLay has been admonished three times in the past 12 months by the House Ethics Committee. He is central to a Travis County grand jury investigation of possible campaign law violations and faces new questions about his travel and lobby connections.

Concerns arose last week about a trip DeLay, and others, accepted from the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council. The council is a registered foreign agent, which would make the trip illegal under House rules.

The powerful Republican from Sugar Land has not taken all this criticism calmly. Under his leadership, the GOP recently changed the makeup of the Ethics Committee, canning the former chairman and adding to the panel DeLay's friend, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican from San Antonio whose district includes parts of Austin.

GOP leaders also pushed through rules changes that would protect DeLay's position if he is indicted; allow easier dismissal of an ethics complaint; and allow one attorney to represent multiple clients accused of ethics violations. Most of this was done in secret, and House Democrats finally revolted.

To protest the rules changes, Democrats prevented the Ethics Committee from organizing last week. Because the 10-member panel is evenly divided by party, it couldn't produce a majority vote to adopt the new rules. Without rules, the House now has no mechanism to investigate or punish members.

The House is, as The Washington Post editorialized, "an ethics-free zone." Democrats insist that they will keep the pressure on until the Republicans undo the rules changes adopted to cover DeLay.

How long the GOP will put up with DeLay's power plays and ethical lapses is a matter for speculation. But some Republicans already are acknowledging that DeLay's position is weakening.

One Republican consultant quoted recently resorted to a remarkable bit of verbal gymnastics to describe DeLay's position. "The situation is negatively fluid right now for the guy," he said.

DeLay brought this on himself. His scorched-earth partisanship, coziness with lobbyists and flippant attitude toward House ethics rules made him a vulnerable target.

Republicans would be wise to get themselves another majority leader before more damage is done.

Tom DeLay must go. He must resign or we must defeat him.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at March 15, 2005 09:09 AM | TrackBack



how are you (we) gonna defeat him?

are you (we) personally gonna go down to sugarland, implant brains into his subjects, remove the AM switch from their radios, and teach them how to read newspapers?

Posted by: taco cabana at March 15, 2005 12:09 PM

It may be unlikely that DeLay could be beaten in an election, but in his redistricting plot, he did have to weaken his base to the point where it's not out of the question. More realistic is that DeLay will be undone by his own corruption. Even Newt Gingrich flamed out after 4 years in power. DeLay is overdue. But just think, no matter what prison ol' Tommy ends up in, it will be insect free. :)

Posted by: Jason Cecil at March 15, 2005 01:21 PM

taco cabana--

I'm from Fort Bend County. I've met tom Delay on several occasions. Hell, my ex girlfriend worked for the guy one summer. He isn't electorally invicible-- this is a misconception that people who live outside of sugarland have. Many religious types back home resent Delay's ethical issues. Moreover, a lot of Fort Benders take issue with Delay's refusal to bring more back to the district. Look at his numbers against unknown democrat richard morrison if you don't believe me.

Anyway, while I don't think that Delay will be losing anytime soon, hes not as indestructable as you seem to think he is.

Posted by: Zach N at March 15, 2005 04:12 PM

Yeah, and Morrison is running again, has become a spokesperson/missionary for his church who goes around to Sugarland area churches to talk about the gospel and won't start out slow like he did this time around. Will he win? Odds are still against him, but DeLay got a little close for comfort and one more close election (one even closer perhaps) and his power base goes from "eroding" to nonexistent. He might be in DC, but his power will be gone. We'll get rid of him sooner or later.

Posted by: Andrew Dobbs at March 15, 2005 05:45 PM

Poster detailing the crimes of "Hot Tub Tom" DeLay!

The AgitProps direct-distributed media project offers downloadable posters for people to print out and distribute on their own.


I encourage folks to print them out on a color printer at work if possible, but the posters look good in monochrome as well.

The idea behind AgitProps is for people all over the country to pint out a stack of posters and post them all over their area -- even putting them on cars in the parking lots of big box stores. If we spread the word about AgitProps widely enough, we can take our country back one Wal-Mart parking lot at a time!

Posted by: agitptops.org at March 16, 2005 12:48 PM

DeLay is DEFINITELY beatable in 2006!

Democratic challenger Richard Morrison nearly beat DeLay in the last election, keeping him to the narrowest margin he's had in a decade.

Before last year, Delay hadn't bothered to actually campaign in his district since 1986. But the heat Morrison put on "Hot Tub Tom" last November forced the most powerful man in Congress to show up for a debate in a high school gym.

Morrison is already ginning up his campaign for 2006. This very well may be DeLay's last term.

Posted by: agitptops.org at March 16, 2005 12:58 PM


great posters....though the irony of the situation is that if you plaster the truth around, most people are going to automatically interpret it as propaganda and promptly ignore it (and, more dangerously, innoculate themselves from the truth when it does come back to them later on).....the only way to get the average fellas to really take it seriously is for "official" news outlets to relate it to them in the language that they understand (money and sex).....though, again, ironically, those outlets are too busy diseminating actual propaganda at the behest of delay's buddies....

i don't really have anything to offer as an alternative, however.....it's rather difficult to protect the rest of the hens in the house when the wolves have already been assigned to "guard" us all. it seems sometimes, that regardless of what anyone does, the scenario will always play out with the wolves eating until their colons explode, leaving those of us that remain to clean up the mess yet again, keeping things tidy until the next generation of inexperienced, pompous fools come in with the same tired old rationalizations for why their "bad" behaviors/attitudes/prejudices are really just great for everyone.

we need a sea-change in public "thinking". people have long forgotten what the words in their own language mean, not to mention the basic tenets of mathematical logic. words like "propaganda", "terrorism", and "fascism" mean different things to different people.....and far too often do not mean what they should to those people. those words and many others are merely slurs devoid of nuance to many people....a way of parsing black and white in a complex world made of shades of gray (as well as cyan, magenta, and yellow). we live in a time where semantics literally kills--something that i find deeply disgusting and depressing. lately, i've been pursuing a path less confrontational. instead of engaging people directly with issues, i've been attempting to simply provide people with a few of the tools that they need to synthesize their own understanding of the issues around them. in explaining my own thought processes i often explicitly state how i recognize and evalute the logical fallacies and rhetorical tricks that some people use disingenously to trick others. i sometimes also explain how one can look at statistics and for which cues in the interpretation of a statistic are indicative of "spin". i've found that people rarely like to admit that they are wrong or ignorant--and direct confrontation only solidifies that wall of pride despite any preponderence of evidence. cognitive dissonance keeps too many people from crying to sleep every night....it's part of the human game of hiding one's shame. i merely want to give them a few of the tools so that they may eventually smell the rat on their own. unfortunately....this approach works far too slow for my own impatience at seeing a better world for everyone and not just merely my own (legitimate) spawn.

there was a time when i wasn't cynical......

Posted by: taco cabana at March 16, 2005 01:45 PM
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