Skip to comments.Historic parallels as DeLay's woes deepen (Soros funds opposition - targets other house members)
Posted on 04/12/2005 1:46:32 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
WASHINGTON - The gap between what House Republicans say on the record about their embattled leader Tom DeLay and what they say in private is wide but narrowing.
In public, most Republicans say that what's driving the criticism of the House majority leader is politics, not ethics. The Democratic "hit machine" is pouring millions into a campaign to oust the most powerful Republican in Congress. But the real target is the Republican majority and its agenda.
But in private, some senior leaders are saying it's only a matter of time before the most powerful Republican in Congress is forced from office. "Democrats should save their money. Why murder someone who is committing suicide?" said a senior GOP lawmaker, on condition of anonymity.
Over the weekend, such guarded views began to emerge into the public sphere. Rep. Christopher Shays (R) of Connecticut became the first Republican lawmaker to call openly for DeLay's ouster. On ABC's "This Week," GOP Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, another Republican expecting a tough race in 2006, said that DeLay needs to "lay out what he did and why."
It's a battle with historic parallels in an institution where it is not unusual for partisan power struggles to play out as controversies over ethics - with a powerful leader as target. Democrats' focus on DeLay, for example, mirrors the GOP campaign to topple Speaker Jim Wright (D), but on a much wider scale. Minority Republicans, led by Rep. Newt Gingrich, choreographed a "gathering storm" in the media around Mr. Wright, whose fall from power in 1989 was triggered by a book deal with the Teamsters Union. Mr. Gingrich made a special effort to draw good-government groups, such as Common Cause, to the fight.
In recent weeks, Democrats and activists who helped fund the 2004 presidential campaign have created their own "good government" coalitions to target DeLay. Billionaire George Soros's Open Society Institute has contributed some $2.5 million to ethics coalition groups.
"Republicans are suffering from what once helped them gain power," says Marshall Wittman, a former conservative activist now with the Democratic Leadership Council. "While nothing DeLay has done may be illegal, Republicans based their takeover on a revolution to make things different. I was part of it. Now, they're outdoing anything Wright did in terms of power. DeLay has intimidated the whole business community."
Last year, the House ethics committee Rebuked DeLay for the appearance of favorable treatment to a lobbyist, misuse of a federal agency in a Texas redistricting dispute, and an "improper" offer to a colleague in exchange for his vote.
More recently, published reports have questioned travel expenses for DeLay and his staff paid for by lobbyists, and some $500,000 in payments from his political action committee to his wife and daughter.
House ethics rules revised After the ethics warning, House Republicans dropped their own 10-year-old rule requiring a leader who is criminally indicted to step down, a move they reversed at the beginning of the current Congress. GOP leaders also rallied their caucus around changes in House rules that make it more difficult to launch an ethics investigation, replaced three of the five Republicans on the panel, and fired two top committee staff members.
In protest, Democrats, who have five seats on the 10-seat panel, are refusing to allow the committee to function until the rules are changed.
At the same time, Democratic groups are funding ads in DeLay's Texas district, in conservative newspapers, and major new stations in Washington. Last week, the Campaign for America's Future ran ads in districts of other Republicans, tarring them with DeLay's troubles. Those targeted include Rep. Rob Simmons (R) of Connecticut, Rep. Tom Reynolds (R) of New York, who chairs the Republican National Committee, and Rep. Doc Hastings (R) of Washington, the newly appointed House ethics chairman.
In 1998, GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich - another powerful leader who faced an ethics scandal - resigned after electoral losses signaled that his leadership had become a liability to fellow GOP candidates. There is some evidence that the anti-DeLay media campaigns may take hold. A recent Houston Chronicle poll found that DeLay was losing support in his own district. Democrats say they are prepared to nationally fund a candidate against him in 2006, for the first time.
Mixed views in conservative ranks While the "gathering storm" has yet to hit local conservative talk radio as it has the national news media, there are also signs that the ethics allegations are beginning to rankle the GOP's conservative base. "Personal ethics are very important to the average evangelical," says the Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals. "When a person is seen to profit from their political connections, it doesn't speak well for that individual."
But he adds that he is not prepared to call for DeLay's ouster "because of appearances.... There's a benefit of the doubt."
Republicans are trying to rally their base, including key think tanks, to defend the majority leader. "Tom DeLay is a Ronald Reagan Republican and a firm fixture within the conservative movement in our country. These two things - combined with his effective leadership - make him an inviting target to liberals and Democrats, as well as the media elite," according to a set of talking points recently circulated by the Republican National Committee.
Name 'em, Gail.
This is media spin and hopeful thinking if I've ever seen it.
Fortunately, the CSM has about as much influence on the national scene as, oh, say, "Highlights for Children" magazine.
Can you find a weak-kneed Republican in this picture?
It's funny, but there is always denial among the ranks in public when one of their own is in trouble. But I get the feeling that DeLay has used his hammer once too often and that it's coming home to hurt him. Remember, even among those in his own party and even those who may even believe in the issues he does as he does, the powerful hate having their feet held to the fire and deeply resent being told and enforced to drink DeLay's brand of kool-aid. And those are his allies.
Christopher Shays is the guy that should go. How about a movement to get rid of him?
Phone your congresscritter and tell him/her to support DeLay.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
April 11, 2005
Howard Fineman of Newsweek and Imus talk about the recent controversy surrounding House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
Howard Fineman: " I figured that Tom DeLay was probably cooked when they announced over the weekend that the Republicans and his supporters, would be holding a big tribute dinner for him on May 12th and tickets are available now. Generally, when they start having tribute dinners for you while a federal grand jury is meeting, that's not a good sign. "
Imus: "Well, Congressman Christopher Shays from Connecticut.. does he have any power?"
Howard Fineman: "No. He's not significant in this context, Rick Santorum is. Santorum wants to run for President. He wants to win re-election in Pennsylvania, and he's recognized that in Pennsylvania, where allies of the Democrats are running ads against DeLay, that that could have an affect, so that's important. It will continue, we have a periscope that Mike Isikoff did this week about how Delay's former good buddy, this big time lobbyist, Jack Abramoff..."
Imus: "The guy who ripped off the Indians..."
Howard Fineman: "The guy who ripped off the Indians, allegedly, big time is sitting in a restaurant around here in Washington, and is quoted by a good friend of his as saying that DeLay knew everything, that he knew all the details. DeLay's basic defense is, 'I took these trips from these worthwhile foundations. I did not know anything about where the money came from for the trips, etcetera and etcetera. What Abramoff supposedly told a good buddy of his is that that's baloney. DeLay knew it all. What always happens in these situations is that people around the powerful figure get mixed up with the grand jury, and begin thinking how do I avoid prosecution and or jail time, and the answer is, you rat on a higher up. That is potentially the situation that Delay is now in."
***.....John D. Podesta, head of the liberal Center for American Progress and a White House and congressional staff veteran since the 1970s, said "one-party control" by Republicans at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue "changes the dynamic substantially" in political scandals.
"You just don't have anyone in power in Congress who will issue a subpoena," forcing truthful testimony, he said, chiding legislators to restore a sense "that there's things that they just won't tolerate, whether it's done by Republicans or Democrats."
Given the majority leader's problems, Podesta said, in some not exactly friendly advice, "if I was advising DeLay, I don't know that 'getting it all out' is a particularly useful strategy for him." ***
Amen to Shays being the one to go...
The Republicans need to rid their ranks of the spineless politicos and elect more Tom Delay types.
It certainly does!
Gonna be war without guns . . . if we're lucky.
Soros is an easy target.
GOP needs to bell this cow.
Indentify, expose and make his money too radioactive for any group to take.
Pure, unadulterated bullshit. Delay has to ride this out or the Republicans are finished. Shays and his ilk make me want to puke.
"If Republicans can find the guts and brains to stick with Tom DeLay, they'll start to show they know how to govern as a majority. It will be an invaluable lesson."
And, if they do not, they will lose their majority..In our family, we are growing very tired of the Republican's refusal to use that majority to stand against the vicious, outrageous, liberal faction which is still in charge of so much, though they lost the election. Why should George Soros, a foreigner, be allowed to use his money to hire surrogates to take over the Democratic party in the U.S.?
The GOP needs to listen to "flyover" country.
How about we stop eating our own and start attacking the dems? There are dems in Congress who have done the same things, lets get those stories out. How about some Republicans getting on shows and talking about the democrats and their stories.
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