In the film "The Blues Brothers," Elwood and Jake claim they are on a "mission from God." In a film Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle allowed to be made of his movements and thoughts leading up to the grand jury indictment of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Earle invokes the Bible and its teaching that the love of money is "the root of all evil." Earle says money in politics is "the devil's brew" and he claims his mission is to "turn off the tap."
Earle's sermonizing in the still-unfinished movie was obtained by National Review Online.
DeLay, who says he will be vindicated in court, is being targeted for doing his political job exceedingly well. That job, in part, has been to get more Republicans elected to office and to keep them there. When Democrats did it effectively for four decades, it was considered good politics. When DeLay and the Republicans do it, they are Satan's servants. Earle apparently believes he has been "called" to stop them before they sin again.
After several tries, Earle finally succeeded in persuading a Texas grand jury to indict DeLay on charges he conspired with two GOP operatives to funnel corporate contributions to Republican candidates for the Texas legislature, which state law prohibits. When the indictment was challenged by DeLay's attorney on grounds that the conspiracy law which DeLay is alleged to have violated was enacted one year after the acts in question, Earle went to a different grand jury. It gave him the new indictments, charging DeLay with money laundering and conspiring to launder money. DeLay called Earle's action "prosecutorial abuse."
Democrat leaders jumped on DeLay in ways meant to advertise their own "virtue." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said DeLay represents a "culture of corruption" and hopes a "level of shame would set in on the Republicans."
I'm glad Pelosi has reintroduced the words "corruption" and "shame" to the political vocabulary, for who would know more about those subjects than the Democrats, who shamelessly defended the corruption of the last Democrat president, William Jefferson Clinton.
For those with short memories, the liberal Web page "The Progressive Review" has chronicled them (http://prorev.com/legacy.htm).
The Clinton administration gave the country the only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance; the highest number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates; the highest number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation; the highest number of witnesses to flee the country; the highest number of witnesses to die suddenly; the first president to be sued for sexual harassment; the first president accused of rape; the first first lady to come under criminal investigation; the largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case; the first president to establish a legal defense fund; the first president to be held in contempt of court; the greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions; the greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions from abroad.
The compilation of the "sins" of the Clinton administration (as Ronnie Earle in his role as Fort Worth "evangelist" might have put it) goes on for eight pages.
Democrats think that by launching their vast left-wing political and media conspiracy against Tom DeLay and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (whose sale of health care stock before its price fell is being looked at by the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors) they will elbow their way back into power.
That strategy occasionally worked for Democrats in the past, but not in a time of war. They'll have to do better than throwing around charges of corruption. Ronnie Earle seems to have a personal and political agenda, not only against Tom DeLay, but against conservatives, be they Republicans or Democrats. He has had mixed results in court.
In defense attorney Dick DeGuerin, DeLay has one of the state's best lawyers. Twelve years ago, DeGuerin lead the legal team that successfully defended Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Republican, against corruption charges brought by Earle.
As for the valid criticism from many conservatives that DeLay and the Republican leadership have broken their promise to shrink the size, cost and reach of big government (they have), that's a subject for another column.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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