I understand why the Democrats are going after Tom DeLay. Snakes gotta slither, mosquitoes gotta bite, hyenas gotta laugh, and Democrats without a blooming idea in their heads gotta go negative.
I also understand why the New York Times is out soliciting Bob Livingston to write an attack op-ed against Delay (he refused), and why they report legal, ethical, common and specifically Ethics Committee-approved activity like Delay employing relatives on his campaign -- as if it were a crime. The owner and staff of that once great paper are so overwhelmingly committed to the Democratic Party that they are willing to destroy in a short decade the paper's reputation, which was over a hundred years in the making -- to advance the great cause of soft-headed liberalism. (There must be ancient Sulzbergers and Timesmen in their graves crying yet-human tears at the sight of their heirs' profligacy.)
But, as to the couple of Republicans up for re-election in a difficult Northeast district and state who, in the name of their consciences, have said slightly rude things about the majority leader of their party, I can only quote that shrewd discerner of character, Oscar Wilde: "Conscience is but the name which cowardice Fleeing the battle scrawls upon its shield."
I have been a card-carrying Republican since 1963, when my candidate Barry Goldwater suggested cutting off the northeast and letting it float out to sea. It was a good idea back then, and it still has some merit. Too many Republicans up there are born without backbones -- which in the Republican Party is a communicable disease. Any other Republicans currently feeling their knee muscles turning to jelly should wrap their knees tightly, stick a ramrod up their dorsal side and get back in the fight.
They should remember the political maxim that while the law will take care of the guilty, when a politician is innocent of the charges being thrown at him, he can only be brought down by his own side. I have been in a lot of political fights -- from the Goldwater campaign in '64, to almost all of Reagan's fights, to slugging it out side by side with my old boss Newt Gingrich back in the '90s -- and I've never been in one where sacrificing innocent comrades helped in the long run. Human sacrifice had been almost completely extinguished with the passing of the Aztecs -- until the Republican Party came along.
Tom DeLay has been the most effective majority whip in living memory, never having lost a vote. He has engineered passage of every vital piece of Bush legislation as majority leader (sometimes with as little as a single hard-sought vote difference). By his tough work in Texas he has almost assured Republican control of the House for at least another decade. (I say "almost," because a party of nitwits and cowards are capable of throwing away anything.)
And he has done what every able leader of men has been doing since the dawn of man -- he has gone hunting and brought home the meat to nourish the whole tribe. Yes. Money: The lawful collecting of which is the essential condition to politically function. If a political party doesn't have money, it doesn't have a chance.
The last chap to make much of difference in an organized way without money was Jesus Christ -- who along with a good idea had the added advantage of being the son of God. And I can assure any of my fellow Republicans on the Hill or in the media who think the party can thrive without fighting for every last dollar: You have neither the idea nor the parentage to pull it off -- even if there is a Roman numeral after your name.
Tom DeLay has provided (and continues to provide) vital service to the party with his stubborn effort to urge K Street to follow the "one congressman, one former party staffer employed" rule in dishing out its influential positions and dollars. The informal power of Washington reflected in lobbying and public relations firms, trade associations and political law offices had been ludicrously over-represented by Democrats, years after they no longer had the committee chairman or assistant secretaries to justify it -- until Tom DeLay fought for the Washington equivalent of one man, one vote.)
That was an honorable and legal fight -- even though DeLay got plenty of bad press (and its derivative bad image) for doing the work at which daintier Republicans sniffed. In a thousand ways that are hard to publicly spot, the K Street effort helped all Republicans win elections, pass legislation they believed in and generally govern the country. That process will continue as long as K Street continues to respect the manliness of the Republicans.
If a party can be stampeded -- by phony charges and a run of shoddy stories in whorish newspapers -- into dumping their most effective congressional leader, I wouldn't give two cents for their near term future. A party that would voluntarily cut off its own testicles and FedEx them to their opponent as a trophy is not likely to manifest any regenerative powers. That's the thing about losing those organs.