Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Demise of Tom DeLay

Tom DeLay made the correct decision not to seek the recovery of the number two post in the House but it will mean little if the DeLay machine remains in operation. Six years ago, when former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich stepped down, the current generation of Republicans had an opportunity to clean up their act. Instead, Hastert became the new speaker and Tom DeLay became the most powerful person in the House. Over the last six years, we have seen a level of corruption in Congress not seen in generations.

I have seen a number of commentaries on DeLay in the last few days. Here's one from S. W. Anderson of Oh!pinion:
Rep. Tom DeLay made the first good-government gesture of his long and checkered political career today by announcing he’ll not seek reinstatement as House majority leader.

There is political justice in the way this development came about. DeLay’s anything-to-win approach to politics earned him his leadership post. He helped craft the politics-as-all-out-war and politics-of-personal-destruction mentality that brought his fellow right-wing Republicans to control of the House. In the process, neoconservative Republicans made the institution a place where the words “comity” and “bipartisan” are mentioned only in bitter reminiscence.

No doubt as the midterm elections draw closer, Republicans will be making many fine speeches about the need for reform. But if the DeLay machine remains intact, even if DeLay is no longer its leader, all the rhetoric will mean little if the members of the machine are still in office in January of next year.


Blogger panopticonman said...

Let's hope that the Dems can make some political hay out of this. I fear, like you, that the attack/patronage machine (attackronage machine, perhaps?) is so well-oiled by the big corporate bucks, its attack function so efficient and effective that it cannot be easily dismantled.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous S,W, Anderson said...

I think what bound so many in the House to DeLay, aside from his obvious power, is that he attracted big-money donors, providing those donors excellent return on their "investment."

Lockstep-marching Republicans didn't mind being cogs in a legislative vending machine, as long as they were sure to get plenty of campaign money and a lock on being re-elected.

If their next leader is less successful at bringing in the big bucks and less ruthless at seeing to it his foot soldiers march in step, the machine could start to break down. It's likely that at least a few have nursed resentment, so they may see this as a good time to assert some independence.

That's probably a scary prospect for Speaker Dennis Hastert and Karl Rove. They've already got a Senate majority leader with 10 thumbs and two left feet.

10:49 PM  

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