Wednesday, April 5, 2006
Take Two and Hit to the Right*: Irreverent Observations
The decision of Rep. Tom DeLay not to run again and to resign his seat was an excellent one from the standpoint not just of the House GOP but his own future. It caught Democrats off-kilter, as with the case of Tammy Duckworth who blasted her 6th district opponent Republican opponent, State Sen. Peter Roskam all the same for serving DeLay as an aide for all of 8 months more than 20 years ago. Two reasons why DeLays strategy was sound. First, he may get caught up in the Abramoff lobbying scandal involving two former aides which could possibly tip his Republican district Democratic.
Second, if he survives the lobbying mess, DeLay is the kind of animal who will want to return to a future in elective office. His indictment by state prosecutor Ronnie Earle is specious as even most Democrats will admit behind the cupped back of their hands. If DeLay is exonerated as is expected and the lobbying scandal doesnt touch him but indirectly, the suburban Houston Congressman can mount a compelling argument in conservative Texasthat he was martyred as part of a Democratic stratagem. The specter of a come-back kid was not bad for ex-indictee John Connally, a popular former governor, who beat the rap on Watergate by surviving an indictment for allegedly receiving bribe money from the milk-producers. Connally tried to parlay it into a national run for president which flopped, but in Texas he became once again golden and remained as such until his death (with great sympathy generated from his bankruptcy).
DeLay, a tough-as-nails tactician born without much charm or humor or articulation but grim and ever-mindful of getting even, could, if exonerated, mount a peculiarly Texas-style future bid for governor. His blunt, wheeler-dealer style has always gone over well when used by others from that state (notably Connally, LBJ, Rep. George Mahon the appropriations king, Sam Rayburn, Rep. Albert Thomas and many others like DeLay not particularly gifted with much charisma).
If so, everybody would be happy but the Democrats: the Republicans because he is gone from the national scene and cant be targeted (except by Duckworths slow-as-yet campaign team, ill-serving a candidate who is not up to fighting trim on the issues) and because, even if he had not the slightest taint, DeLays strong-arm tactics have played themselves out and been tiresome, particularly the extra-long count he gave the House to round up votes for the prescription drug bill and possibly Texas Republicans in the future who savor one who can come back from the politically dead, particularly when liberal Dems are proudly trumpeting that they drove a stake through his heart, as he rips open the coffin lid and jumps out yelling, Ahm back! DeLays supposed move to Virginia just satisfies a political requirement that he not remain a resident at present of the district and does not necessarily mean hell stay put.