Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Closer I Get to Thee

Other people use the excuse that they want to spend more time with their family. Not Tom DeLay. He's leaving Congress to spend more time getting closer to God.

Based upon his accomplishments so far, he could use all the time he has left repenting for the life he's led.

Sidney Blumenthal provides a short, but precise description that capsulizes the career of Tom DeLay, in a Guardian comment, I, DeLay, the "former majority leader of the House of Representatives [who] has been the Republican strongman in the Congress, known as "The Hammer." As the party whip, he hung a bullwhip on his wall as a symbol of intimidation. The style of the former exterminator from Sugar Land, Texas was bullying and crude."

Dick Polman utilizes the Lord Action quotation, "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely," to epitomize DeLay, in The Hammer whacks himself. As he explains it:

He says today that he'll quit Congress this spring, in order to focus on an issues agenda that will include nurturing a closer relationship between religion and politics. He neglected to mention that, as an indicted criminal defendant, he will also be compelled to focus on the issue of staying out of jail.

* * * *

DeLay tells Time magazine that he's quitting because "I can evaluate political situations," meaning that he's not sure he has enough votes to win re-election as a backbench congressman. But this argument is a tad incomplete; it's akin to what Richard Nixon said in 1974 when he resigned the presidency.
Nixon said he was quitting because "I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress," when, in reality, it was because he faced impeachment and conviction for high crimes and misdemeanors. DeLay's statement about "political situations" omits the most important fact of all: A legal noose might be tightening around his neck.

* * * *

The best way to assess DeLay's rise and fall is to focus on the big picture. His ties to his former good friend Abramoff are merely symptomatic of DeLay's longstanding efforts to fuse the '94 conservative revolution to the K Street lobby-finance machine; he married conservative ideology to big money; power became not merely the means, but the end in itself. And then Lord Acton's observation kicked in.
And, of course, Wonkette provides a whole different spin on the matter:
Yeah, we’ll miss the old bastard — he knew how to be a majority leader, dammit. It’s about taking the R.J. Reynolds corporate jet to your arraignment and not giving a shit, not being famous for your goddamn tan like some dimestore George Hamilton. It’s about multiple admonishments from the House ethics committee, comparing yourself to Jesus, flashing a shit-eating grin in your mugshot, money-laundering, calling for violent retribution against activist judges, and contacting six federal agencies to trail Texas Democrats!
Sounds like DeLay has confused things a bit. Perhaps he's planning to spend more time with his lawyers, not God. The only man in robes he's likely to be spending time with in the near future is the Judge in a courthouse, which is certainly a different kind of religious experience.

No comments: