Thursday, March 03, 2005

Bug Man Blues

The Moose asks the Mooseketeers to dig deep and find some empathy for the House Majority Leader.

The Honorable Tom DeLay has not had as much trouble on his hands since he got booted out of Baylor back in the '60s for his college antics against A&M. From ethics problems in D.C. to his political cronies facing trial in Texas, the Bug Man must long for the days when the only challenges he had to confront were those pesky fireants.

Now, Mike Allen reports in today's Washington Post that his political base back in the Lone Star State may be shaky,

"House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), struggling to protect his Washington power base as legal and ethical issues fester, also has to watch his back on the home front.

"Though the change has received little notice, DeLay's strength in his suburban Houston congressional district of strip malls and housing developments has eroded considerably -- forcing him to renew his focus on protecting his seat.

"DeLay garnered 55 percent of the vote in the November election against a relatively unknown Democrat, an unusually modest showing for a veteran House member who is one of the most powerful politicians in Washington. Some Republican officials and DeLay supporters worry that with President Bush absent from the top of the ticket next year, liberal interest groups might target the conservative majority leader and spend millions of dollars on campaign ads to try to defeat him.

"The outspoken and hard-charging DeLay, 57, got into trouble last year when the House ethics committee admonished him three times and three of his Texas associates were indicted by a Travis County grand jury on charges of illegal fundraising related to a controversial redistricting plan that DeLay helped push through the state legislature. Testimony began this week in a civil case brought in Austin by five Democrats who allege that a political action committee begun by DeLay improperly spent about $600,000 in corporate contributions to implement the plan and unseat them."

Although it is far from clear that DeLay faces imminent defeat in '06, it would be delicious irony if he is the victim of his corrupt redistricting scheme. At the very least, he will have less time to manipulate the levers of power in Washington while he feasts on chicken fried steak dinners at diners back in Sugar Land. Allen writes,

"So when the House is tackling what DeLay calls the most ambitious agenda since Republicans took control a decade ago, he has to worry about getting face time with local officials and with business owners who turn out for Chamber of Commerce dinners in the 30 percent of his district that is new."

Meanwhile, the National Journal reported that DeLay and his flunkies were the globe trotting beneficiaries of Air Abramoff of the Indian gaming scandal fame,

"Last week, the National Journal reported that DeLay, his wife, Christine, and close aides had traveled the world with Jack Abramoff, who once was one of the Republican Party's most powerful lobbyists and now is facing criminal and congressional investigations for millions of dollars in fees he received from casino-operating Indian tribes seeking to influence the federal government. The magazine reported that the National Center for Public Policy Research, which had Abramoff as a board member, paid for DeLay's trips in 2000 to Scotland and London, where he stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel, and to Russia in 1997."

This revelation has the potential to spur yet another ethics violation. When it rains it pours!

The Moose argues that Tom DeLay has become the Republican version of Jim Wright. Although the Moose believes that Wright got a bum wrap, he was a useful foil for Gingrich to symbolize the arrogance and corruption of Democratic control over Congress. Similarly, DeLay is the poster boy for the check book corrupt culture of Capitol Hill.

And besides,the people of Sugar Land cry out for the return of DeLay Pest Control. Lone Star rodents beware, the Bug Man will return!
-- Posted at 8:12 AM | Link to this post | Email this post