To paraphrase Richard Nixon, Democrats won't have Rep. Tom DeLay to kick around anymore.
DeLay's announcement that he will resign from Congress before the November election came in the wake of his former deputy chief of staff pleading guilty to conspiracy and corruption charges. Tony C. Rudy has told federal prosecutors about a criminal enterprise of influence-buying he claims was run out of DeLay's office. DeLay has denied any knowledge or involvement with the alleged scheme and is reportedly "disappointed" by those on his staff who let him down. DeLay says he's quitting so he won't be an issue in the election and in order to preserve his 22nd District congressional seat in Texas for Republicans. He says he will continue to work to preserve the Republican majority and advance conservative causes.
There is a tendency for people on the receiving end of indictments or allegations of questionable behavior to say, "Oh yeah, well let's not forget what the other guys did when they were in power." DeLay has been the target of Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, who has publicly called DeLay names. Earle has also invited a documentary filmmaker to record his movements and statements in the DeLay case, which ought to be unethical, if not illegal.
After 40 years in control of the House of Representatives, Democrats are hardly in a position to tell Republicans to get the speck out of their eyes before Democrats deal with beams in their own. One recalls a statement by then-House Speaker Jim Wright in 1988 about a book that was a cut-and-paste job of Wright's speeches, which he sold to political cronies with Wright pocketing the proceeds. After Common Cause filed an ethics complaint in the House, Wright issued a press release charging, "Common Cause has made itself the handmaiden of a partisan political initiative."
The list of Democrats who have been forced to resign, been indicted or impeached, or had their ethics challenged, is long. The Web site noagenda.org lists several ethically challenged Democrats of recent vintage. In the last few days, Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia has not only found herself the subject of attention for allegedly assaulting a Capitol police officer after he tried to make her go through a metal detector (she was not wearing her congressional members pin), but she also admitted using office money, in violation of strict House rules, to fly musician Isaac Hayes to an Atlanta event. Her office announced she would reimburse the government for that trip. The alleged assault incident has been referred to a federal prosecutor.
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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