The First Political Casualty

Posted: Jan 09, 2006 2:21 PM
 The First Political Casualty

  • From the Sydney Australia Morning News: "DeLay Resigns as Republican Support Melts Away"
    "DeLay is the first political casualty of the Abramoff affair," said a Republican political strategist, Rich Galen."

  • Actually, the original piece was by reporter Jonathan Weisman and appeared in Sunday's Washington Post, but I thought it was cool to be quoted in Australia.

    Dear Mr. Mullings:

    Did you learn nothing about the value of becoming a better person after your trip to Mexico? By the way, that bruise on your forehead made you look, on TV, like Mikhail Gorbachev.

    The Vengeance Faeries

    Yeah. Right.

  • For those who took the weekend off, Tom DeLay announced on Saturday that he would resign his post as Majority Leader of the US House and open the way for new leadership elections when the House comes back to work later this month.

  • You know the story: DeLay was indicted by a county prosecutor in Austin, Texas on charges of money laundering. Under Republican Conference rules DeLay had to step aside until that case was disposed of.

  • It is unclear what would have happened with regard to the Majority Leader slot when, as he claims will happen, DeLay is found innocent of the charges in Texas, but Abramoff rendered that moot.

  • I have been saying since this Abramoff thing started that the criminal issues may be limited to a dozen of so Members and a couple of dozen staffers. But the political problems will spread way, WAY beyond the legal issues.

  • No evidence has come to light that the DeLay-Abramoff connection was in any way illegal, but Abramoff is not just radioactive; he is a human Chernobyl. No one wants to be mentioned in the same time zone as Jack Abramoff, much less in the same news story.

  • So, the fact that there has been any connection between DeLay and Abramoff, in this toxic environment, was more than enough for the Republican Members in the House to decide they needed a new face to represent them.

  • Hence, DeLay is the first - but will not be the last - political casualty of the Abramoff affair.

  • If you held a hundred dollar bill up to your ear last week on K Street - the home of many lobbying firms - I swear you could hear the machine-whine of paper files being shredded prior a federal prosecutor coming a'calling and ordering that of their records must be preserved.

  • Similarly, I suspect there have been required lobbying-firm-wide classes on the use of CTRL-A (select all) followed by judicious use of the "delete" key to erase as many fishy-smelling e-mails as possible, as quickly as possible.

  • All of the wink-wink-nudge-nudge deals which have been struck between lobbyists and Congressman - Republicans and Democrats - are now going to be heavily scrutinized.

  • Every earmark in appropriations bills (see the MULLINGS, "Earmarks") is going to be looked at by the two political parties, the news media and Federal prosecutors to see whether any suspicious donations showed up about the time the earmark was inserted.

  • Speaking of donations, this business of sending tainted Abramoff donations to charities is not cutting any mustard with me. If there was nothing wrong with the donation, then keep it. If there WAS something wrong with the donation - when was that something discovered and why did it take until now to decide the money was dirty?

  • Finally, we should keep in mind these are campaign donations. Elected officials are attempting to purchase decency by sending campaign donations - other people's money - to charities. I guarantee you that the accountants who oversee those campaigns will claim a charitable deduction from Federal income taxes next year to offset the taxes the campaigns have to pay on earned interest.

  • If the officials were serious about this, they would match the contaminated donations with a similar amount from their own checkbooks.

  • As I wrote earlier: Yeah. Right.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A Mullfoto contributed by someone who has figured out the whole "Taking Down the Christmas Tree" thing; Gorbachev; a link to the Washington Post piece and the "wink-wink-nudge-nudge" line; and another, timely, Separated at Birth.