Sunday, April 17, 2005


DeLay, Abramoff, and the GOP

Wow. Did y'all catch Meet the Press this morning? It was almost as if Tim Russert managed to forget that he owes his job to Republican stalwart Jack Welch. He actually played the DeLay story straight, and only tried one "gotcha" moment on Democratic guest Barney Frank: "Are you trying to make a poster boy out of Tom DeLay?" Frank easily brushed that aside -- "Tom DeLay made Tom DeLay into a poster boy" -- and then went back to beating the snot out of the Republican guest (and token DeLay defender) Roy Blunt. (At one point Blunt tried to drown out Barney by talking over him and the Frankster came back with "I thought you were against filibusters!") This can only mean one thing: It looks like the corporate media got Bush's memo to go after DeLay. Tommy still has one hell of a support base, and Bush doesn't want it to look too obvious (hence Blunt's presence "defending" the Bug Man), but the writing is on the wall: DeLay must go down now, to save the GOP's 2006 midterm chances. It's so funny to visit the comments threads of the various blogs and read the screeds left by the people who actually think DeLay is going to survive this. What the reflexive pessimists don't get is that DeLay is going down. Here's why. See, before he botched things so badly in the Terri Schiavo case, there was a chance that the Texas Lege would come to his aid and take Ronnie Earle's jurisdiction away from Ronnie, thus stopping the grand jury process that Earle set in motion years ago. But Hot Tub's ordering around the House AND the Senate AND the White House over the Easter recess, in order to pass a Bill of Attainder that proved to be astonishingly unpopular among all classes of Americans, even Texans (hell, even 69% of the evangelicals hated it, and most other Americans hated it in far bigger percentages), was the last effing straw. With his very visible meddling -- and coercion of the other GOP members of the legislative and executive branches to meddle -- in the Schiavo case, Tom DeLay not only tore a rift open between the religio-racist right and the corporate money men, he also singlehandedly took five to ten percentage points off the re-elect chances of nearly every single GOP House member. Nobody wants to stick their neck out for a guy who just did that to them. Meanwhile, Ronnie Earle's finishing up Grand Jury #3 -- the one focused on DeLay buddy (and Texas state AG) Craddick, and which will feature lots of indictments. Earle will then start up Grand Jury #4, whose target is none other than DeLay himself. When this Grand Jury winds up in a few months -- just as the 2006 election season starts to heat up -- Tom DeLay, if he's still in the House, will find himself on the receiving end of a big fat indictment, and be forced to resign. Knowing all this, is it really surprising that Bush and Company want to force DeLay out now, in the hopes that this all is forgotten (and thus isn't connected to other Republicans) come 2006? But the problem for them is that DeLay has left his mark on every aspect of the modern Republican Party. They are conjoined at the hip. You can't cut out every last trace of him without exposing the corruption that is the Party's stock in trade. Furthermore, DeLay has already shown that he's not going to fall on his sword for the good of the party and resign "to spend more time with his family". (Why should he? His family is hip-deep in the scandal anyway.) He'll fight hard and dirty, and take a few folks with him as he goes down. (It's already happening in Texas, where DeLay's good friend and current United States Senator John Cornyn has been implicated in the Abramoff casino scandal. And the Abramoff backwash is slapping around Senator David Vitter in Lousiana, too.) Pass the popcorn!

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