Rich Galen

Every cheesy horror flick ever filmed has a scene where the guy you thought had already been killed via the stake-through-the-heart route pops up in front of the window, or out of the bathtub, or from behind the closet door, causing you to jump out of your seat.

Over the past 24 hours I've felt I have been stuck on Elm Street unable to escape the image of Tom DeLay.

TV interviews. Newspaper interviews. An Internet web site. which is ... a blog.

As if I'm going to wake up 15 minutes earlier every morning just to see what Tom DeLay is thinking about. To quote from the Borat movie: Not.

Dear Mr. Mullings:

Don't you write a blog? Don't you expect ME to wake up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? Aren't you being, what we call, a Hippo-crit?

I'm glad you asked that. A blog is of indeterminate length, published on at random. MULLINGS is an Internet column. It is of standard newspaper column length - about 750 words - and is published on a regular schedule.

Yeah. Well. Still.

As we have discussed here before, Tom DeLay became Majority Whip in 1995 when Newt became Speaker by convincing his colleagues that someone had to be a check on Newt's total control of the Republican Conference and the House.

When Newt left after the modestly (by current standards) disappointing election of 1998, Dennis Hastert became Speaker and DeLay moved up to Majority Leader.

Hastert is many things: A fine person. A nice guy. A good fundraiser. But, he is not a disciplinarian. Hastert was uncomfortable calling a Member in, wagging his finger in his colleague's face, and laying down the law.

Tom DeLay lived for those encounters.

DeLay reveled in the nickname "The Hammer." He established the now-infamous "K-Street Project" in which he browbeat lobbying firms and associations into hiring Republicans to replace and supplant the Democrats who had - because of the 40-year run of Democratic control of the House - owned those jobs.

I never thought there was anything particularly wrong with the K-Street Project. I, however, thought it would have worked just as well without DeLay and his staff crowing about its successes and publicly glowering at firms which defied them.

Dennis Hastert was so in the thrall of Tom DeLay that when DeLay was indicted by a county prosecutor in Austin, Texas Hastert tried to change the Republican (not House) rule that a Member who was under indictment had to resign from any leadership role.

I don't know that DeLay is guilty of anything. I DO know that the politics of the thing required him to get out of the way.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at