Friday, April 14, 2006

Once In a While We Have to Say to Fred Barnes: Please.

Fred Barnes, the executive editor of The Weekly Standard is only slightly less loyal to his Republican sources than is Lynn Sweet of the Sun-Times. It would not dawn on Sweet to write anything that might be disruptive to Democrats or the cause of liberaldom to which she is irrevocably committed. Normally, it should be easier to get Barnes to me more objective—recognizing that objectivity is impossible in political reporting—than Sweet. But don’t expect too much. Recently he has been slightly—very slightly—less partisan when reporting on the failings of the Bush administration’s tactics. But on the subject of Tom DeLay, evidently Barnes’ key House GOP source, the very good analyst stretches our credulity a tad too far.

He writes that contrary to popular view, DeLay was not “the Hammer” but was sweet and gentle in his ways. Pul—ee—ze! There was the case in the heat of battle on the prescription drug bill where a retiring senior Congressman wanted his have his son succeed him, and DeLay alternately either promised to get the son big bucks for the campaign or to fix it so the kid would not get big bucks—all depending on how the Dad would vote. The hills are littered with bodies decapitated by DeLay who fought in true LBJ style to get a vote passed. The bloody mess was emblematic of a great, tactically shrewd but mechanically heartless leader…one not particularly motivated by ideology either, but by the joie de vivre of Republican combat. Those who wish they could have him back miss him now that his successor, John Boehner, is far from electric in his inability to run the House. But they’re reconciled that there probably is enough on DeLay, even if he beats the Ronnie Earle rap, to have stifled his effectiveness.

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