Saturday, January 07, 2006

He's a goner, folks

Tom DeLay is out for good. The former Majority Leader relinquished his post today and will concentrate solely on keeping his seat in a tough race against a man he redistricted out of a seat, Nick Lampson (D) and possibly another former rep, Steve Stockman (R). Tommy made some enemies with his work, and if he's convicted, of course, he would be barred from running for office, taking him out for good and making Lampson a safe bet. Lampson, who is a hometown boy, and who gained more favorable voters in the Texas 22nd by DeLay's plan, could just smack down DeLay in any case.

As the month wears on, I would expect that Roy Blunt and Bob Ney will fall casualty to the Jack Abramoff cloud sweeping over Washington as well. The GOP will clearly try to paint this as bipartisan stuff, except that Abramoff has been documented as, A: a Bush Pioneer in both elections, B: part of the Bush 2000 transition team, C: a former head of the College Republicans in the 1980's, D: an ally of GOP strongmen such as DeLay, Grover Norquist, and Ralph Reed, and E: a head of the 2001 effort to get K Street firms to hire more Republicans as lobbyists.

The key words to remember is that clients of Abramoff gave to both parties, which is a common move to keep both sides happy, but that the Republicans were benefactors of Abramoff's personal largesse, as well as that of his clients. Much of this is proven by some of the document collection Justice has released, which can be found over at TPM here (click each number). So, this isn't bipartisan, because there's a large difference between legal donations (which is what the very small number of Democrats got, and only because they were in states that had major Indian affairs or gambling) and the free meals, skybox tickets, soft money fundraisers, et al. that Republicans got from Abramoff and crew.

Finally, those who have pled guilty or are targets of this investigation are all former Republican staffers. This is a Republican problem, and we'll see if they are serious about cleaning house come January 30. If Blunt and Ney aren't voted out by their caucus, then it'll be clear they don't give a damn. If they vote in new blood, then it's possible they'll save their asses in November.


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