Tom DeLay, we hardly knew ye
Amid all the tornados, wild fires and the Florida Gators winning the national championship in a non-game against the UCLA Teddy Bears, the big news from last night was the first reports that Tom Delay, The Man From Sugarland, The Hammer, the Now-Disgraced One-Time House Majority Leader, would not seek re-election and would leave the House of Representatives as soon as May.
Let's get down to brass tacks -- Tom DeLay was a ruthless bastard with a heart so full of hate that he was occasionally known, in the middle of House debates, to vomit forth a black, tarry substance that was later identified by scientists as "pure evil." The hubris of the man was so complete that, upon once being told to extinguish his smelly cigar at a steak house due to the regulations of the federal government, he replied, "I am the federal government." And he wasn't being ironic. It was a statement unknown to politics since the pre-Revolutionary days of France, when King Louis XIV, the Sun King, was known to utter, "L'etat c'est moi" -- I am the state. In any case, Louis XIV was at least a king, so the claim of being one and the same with the state he represented was at least debatable. But Tom DeLay is a weasel with the morals of Judas and the wisdom of Caligula. And though the man is now down, I intend to keep on kicking.
The Houston Press reported that, while campaigning for Dan Quayle in 1988, DeLay was asked why he hadn't fought in Vietnam. He responded that "So many minority youths had volunteered for the well-paying military positions to escape poverty and the ghetto that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like himself."
DeLay's arrogance and conceit dribbled all over domestic and foreign policy. After he visited Israel in 2003 and stridently spoke against any and all land concessions, National Union Party deputy Aryeh Eldad remarked, "until I heard him speak, I thought I was farthest to the right in the Knesset [Israel's parliamentary body]."
Domestically, DeLay famously misused federal resources to track down Texan democrats who had fled the state to avoid quorum over a possibly unconstitutional congressional redistricting. DeLay was among the most disgusting of demagogues in the Terri Schiavo mess, making vague threats against the judge (a conservative, it should be noted) who allowed Terri to die with what little dignity she had left.
But history won't remember DeLay for his unbridled hubris. It will remember him for his rampant corruption. Aside from the money laundering charges he faces in Texas, DeLay is neck-deep in the Abramoff scandal. The Associated Press report says it all: "DeLay’s political action committee did not reimburse lobbyist Jack Abramoff for the May 2000 use of the skybox, instead treating it as a type of donation that didn’t have to be disclosed to election regulators at the time.
The skybox donation, valued at thousands of dollars, came three weeks before DeLay also accepted a trip to Europe — including golf with Abramoff at the world-famous St. Andrews course — for himself, his wife and aides that was underwritten by some of the lobbyist’s clients.
Two months after the concert and trip, DeLay voted against gambling legislation opposed by some of Abramoff’s Indian tribe clients.
House ethics rules require lawmakers to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest."
At best, DeLay is an ignorant rube with an equally moronic staff who remained unaware of House ethics rules even after being in Congress for more than a decade. At worst, he is the lowest sort of corrupt sleaze, a man who bleeds the government for all it's worth and -- by doing so -- bleeds us all in the process. I'm inclined to believe the latter -- no one is so stupid as to be the former. And what makes it worse, even while he was piling up the cash and the trips and the other fabulous prizes to be won on Rape My Country, he was instrumental in passing some of the most heartless legislation in America's history. Despite starting out as a simple exterminator, DeLay never passed up a chance to stick it to the working man.
Then again, maybe those extermination roots explain it all. Tom DeLay had grown used to destroying things smaller than he was. When he came to Congress, he carried on in the same vein -- and to him, we were all just so many cockroaches.
Harris County Sheriff's mugshot of Tom DeLay, alleged money launderer