The Hammer Goes Down
DeLay, whose political style is a tight smile and a knee in the groin, entered Congress in 1984 after a successful career as an exterminator. He is a kind of superbug himself, the roach that can survive anything.
DeLay, a k a "The Hammer," has achieved the impossible: His fund-raising shakedowns have made people feel sorry for D.C. lobbyists.
I have no idea if DeLay has technically broken the law. What interests me is how this moderate, evenly divided nation came to be ruled on at least one side of Capitol Hill by a zealot. This is a man who calls the Environmental Protection Agency "the Gestapo of government" and favors repealing the Clean Air Act because "it's never been proven that air toxins are hazardous to people"; who insists repeatedly that judges on the other side of issues "need to be intimidated" and rejects the idea of a separation of church and state; who claims there are no parents trying to raise families on the minimum wage—that "fortunately, such families do not exist" (at least Newt Gingrich was intrigued by the challenges of poverty); who once said: "A woman can't take care of the family. It takes a man to provide structure." I could go on all day. Congress has always had its share of extremists. But the DeLay era is the first time the fringe has ever been in charge.
DeLay's ethical troubles are legendary—as is his prowess at throwing a wrench into the institutions that could hold him accountable. According to Common Cause, DeLay was admonished by unanimous votes of the House Ethics Committee a record four times, for matters concerning DeLay's role in threatening an electronics trade group for not putting a Republican at its head, for "creating at least the 'appearance' that Westar Energy executives were provided special access at a West Virginia golf retreat as a result of $25,000 in corporate contributions to Texans for a Republican Majority," "for using government resources in a 2004 Texas redistricting undertaking," and "for offering to endorse Rep. Nick Smith's (R-MI) son . . . on the House floor in exchange for Smith's vote in favor of the Medicare/prescription drug bill." In April, the New York Times reported that DeLay's "wife and daughter . . . have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees, according to a detailed review of disclosure statements filed with the Federal Election Commission."
Furthermore, in March, the Washington Post reported that, "The Senate Finance Committee yesterday opened an investigation into allegations that lobbyist Jack Abramoff used nonprofit organizations to pay for a variety of improper activities, including overseas trips for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Tex.) and another Republican lawmaker." A month later, the Post reported that a third DeLay trip, a "six day trip to Moscow in 1997 was underwritten by business interests lobbying in support of the Russian government," via GOP lobbyist and close DeLay associate Jack Abramoff.
- Village Voice
"Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes."
"Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills."
- via about.com