Sidney Blumenthal on DeLays Departure

Here is a great opinion piece on Tom DeLay and his sad reign in Washington DC.

I, DeLay

by Sidney Blumenthal

The fall of Tom DeLay, the most powerful Republican leader in the Congress, creates a crisis for his party and the political machine he built.

The resignation of Tom DeLay is the crashing conclusion of his garish career... The former majority leader of the House of Representatives 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... He called the Environmental Protection Agency "the Gestapo," ran a smear operation out of his office that would have won the admiration of Senator Joseph McCarthy, and grabbed whatever he wanted as his right of lordship. When a meek restaurateur in a Capitol Hill steakhouse politely asked DeLay to put out his large cigar because of the city's no smoking law, DeLay bellowed, "I am the government!" And he was not wrong.

DeLay enforced harsh discipline on the Republicans... Rules, including the House's own, meant nothing to him, irritating hindrances to be broken at his will. In order to gain passage of a bill favouring the big drug companies - preventing the Medicare elderly prescription drug program from negotiating lower rates - he extended debate long past the deadline and was accused of offering the bribe of a campaign contribution to a wavering Republican. DeLay stomped on the Ethics committee, stopping it from meeting to investigate this episode until public outcry forced him to back off. He greeted slaps on his wrist as badges of honour.


Over more than a decade, DeLay forged a political machine that he called the "K Street project," after the downtown avenue in Washington DC of steel and glass building housing the large law and lobbying firms. DeLay kept a black book in which he noted who gave money to and hired Republicans. When a trade association tried to employ a Democrat, it was issued a warning that it would be punished. From the "K Street project" to the Republicans flowed tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions. Meanwhile, the contracts from corporations for lobbying and legal work went to these Republican firms. It was a perfectly designed system of legal graft.

When President George W. Bush assumed office, one-party rule commenced. DeLay served as Bush's "Hammer." Back in Texas, between the political operations of both of them, the Democrats had been shattered as a party. Now DeLay and Bush worked together nationally to accomplish the same goal. Karl Rove, Bush's chief political adviser, who had been instrumental in the Texas takeover, was the go-between in the relationship. And the go-between in the Rove-DeLay relationship was a lobbyist named Jack Abramoff.


1 comment:

  1. Blumenthal says it all. Let's get some new blood in congress and keep an eye on all of them.


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