Sunday, October 02, 2005

DeLay Defiant, Vows Return

Former majority leader Tom DeLay, under indictment for conspiracy, remains defiant and vows a quick return to his former post. (Washington Post: Defiant Delay sees quick return to US party power). When asked about the charges, DeLay stated, "I am indicted just for the reason to make me step aside as majority leader. This is politics at its sleaziest and people will recognize that. I think it will be over and be over very, very soon and I think I will go back and be majority leader."

When it comes to DeLay's political career, his guilt or innocence is irrelevant. DeLay was increasingly becoming a liability to the Republican Party. DeLay was hardly a popular figure among moderate Republicans, and he was outright hated by the liberal wing of Congress. Regardless of your views on his ethics, what DeLay was not capable of doing was forging compromise - something sorely needed in a Congress and a nation split effectively right down the middle. Rather, DeLay was a hard-line conservative that had trouble rallying even the moderate arm of the Republican Party.

DeLay's career as a party leader is done. Both Republicans and Democrats have one thing in common. They both bury their dead. Just ask Newt Gingrich. If DeLay has any career left, it's as a political pundit, making the talk show rounds starring in the role of the conservative extremist. His career in House leadership is over.

What makes it worse for DeLay is that the indictment comes heading into an election year. Anyone in a tight race - and there will be plenty of those in 2006 - will seek to put as much distance as possible between themselves and DeLay. While he likes to tout a close relationship with Speaker Hastert, he may find that even Hastert will distance himself the more DeLay appears to be a liability.

DeLay appears not to have learned from the mistakes of others. When asked about the indictment, he said, "My lawyers tell me that (Texas prosecutor) Ronnie Earle ... manufactured an indictment based on a Texas statue that does not apply to me." Denial and attempting to get off on a technicality does not play well with the voting public. He'd best come up with a stronger defense than that, or he may well find his own House seat up-for-grabs. As it is, he'd best get used to being one of the common folks in Congress again. It's not likely that he'll ever see leadership again.

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1 comment :

Alan Fraser said...

DeLay has been for years the poster-child for the Worst of Washingon and, to the extent that the GOP fails to clean house, it is tainted as well. He's the John Gotti of DC and the fact that he's never been convicted before means nothing; he's still a gangster. (Well, more accurately, the resemblance to Gotti is only in that he's a gangster as otherwise he isn't good-looking, he's completely lacking in style, and everyone hates him.)