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Tom DeLay was no latecomer to sleaze, lies, and despicable behavior

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, April 05, 2006.

There are many things about former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay that – as is appropriate for a former bug exterminator - gag maggots, not excluding his painful smile that would turn a Papal funeral up a side street. But he may have perfected his depiction of the unctuous and grotesque beyond mere art and into the Pantheon of Hypocritical Immortals. It has to do with his excuses for not continuing his re-election campaign and his decision to step down as a Congressman at some as yet unspecified date, supposedly by mid-June.

Even by Texas standards, DeLay’s move puzzled many still chewing over his declaration that he would mount a strong campaign to fend off GOP rivals for his seat, and in Sugarland, Texas, the GOP primary elects the Congressman, given the very weak Democratic party outside of Austin itself and the fact that DeLay redrew district lines to make the GOP impregnable in the state of Billie Sol Estes. Despite indictment in Texas redistricting issues, and the laundered money raised for those political fights, DeLay recently won his primary handily, no surprise, but then this week announced he would not only not continue his heroic St. George vs. the Dragons of the Liberal Media battle in the November election, he would retire from Congress at least six months before it. This can mean either a separate special election for a six month term after DeLay actually steps down, or the office can be left vacant. Either way, an expensive kick in the slats to the constituents DeLay professes concern for. And if he’s going to step down, why did he participate in the primary so recently? Why did he keep his campaign machinery going?

Two things. The most obvious is that it was this week that a former member of his Congressional Office admitted to conducting criminal activity while in the office, making two such employees, thus far, and this cannot help but mean that prosecutors in the Abramoff scandals are closing in on the man who stated, often and in public, that Jack Abramoff represented the best of the Republican Party, and who was a great friend of his. DeLay keeps saying that he has been told he is not a target of the investigation, but we all know that isn’t worth anything but acknowledgement of lawyerly procedure.

But it’s the second thing that reverberates, because its exercise illustrates the very issues DeLay wants to play down. Any money DeLay has raised for election can, by law, be used in a defense fund involving issues of his office. DeLay, in other words, scammed his constituents to raise money not for the election but for his attorneys. If that isn’t a perfect summation of the man and the charges against him, I don’t know what could be better.

But what’s even worse? All the Republicans who directly and indirectly benefited from the DeLay browbeating and political extortions through the years have, almost one and all, kissed him off. They never knew him, never liked him, didn’t approve, etc. etc. Nauseating. DeLay was slime, but essentially admitted it and claimed all was for a higher good which, if you were a Republican, was a playing field surveyed, plowed, planted, and cultivated to favor the GOP. The redistricting lines DeLay created may have been legal, but the methods used to raise campaign funding for them apparently were not.

And because of that, DeLay is not only leaving his constituents without a Congressman at all, he’s leaving them physically and moving, he says, to Virginia where he can wage future wars for his party’s benefit. That means he can no longer vote in Texas but could be a Washington lobbyist. Also, extradition issues.

In his hour of need, DeLay claims this is all got up by the Democratic Ronnie Earl, the elderly DA with no plans for further office who has brought the least of DeLay’s problems to a court. To this point, DeLay has gotten away with his ridiculous charges and blustering through the years, and it is a long time habit of his to lie outright. In 1988, at the Houston GOP convention, this is what the Houston Press reported when asked to explain how such of military friendly war bird stayed out of Vietnam with questionable student deferments: He and Quayle, DeLay explained to the assembled media in New Orleans, were victims of an unusual phenomenon back in the days of the undeclared Southeast Asian war. So many minority youths had volunteered for the well-paying military positions to escape poverty and the ghetto that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like himself. Satisfied with the pronouncement, which dumbfounded more than a few of his listeners who had lived the sixties, DeLay marched off to the convention.

And immortality. That was the second most powerful man in Washington these last few years, brought to you by the superior ethics and morality of the Christian loving Republican Party. He’s quite likely going to prison, and – liberal or conservative – our throats should remain unconstricted, our eyes quite dry.