May 2, 2005


DeLay still at peak of his powers (ROBERT NOVAK, May 2, 2005, Chicago SUN-TIMES)

The embattled Majority Leader Tom DeLay rose on the floor of the House Thursday to note the unexpected rediscovery in eastern Arkansas of the supposedly extinct ivory-billed woodpecker. He added that the budget resolution pending in the House contained federal entitlement reforms, "whose prospects for survival, critics said, were not much better than the survival of the ivory-billed woodpecker."

Indeed, only a few hours earlier, House-watchers felt DeLay faced an uphill fight to pass the budget agreed to the previous night. Conservatives threatened to rebel, claiming insufficient restraint on Medicaid. Could DeLay avoid disaster? He did, with the final version of the budget passing the House 214- 211. Only four identifiable Republican conservatives voted no (joining unanimous Democratic opposition).

DeLay again had mobilized the House's slender GOP majority. Beyond getting his conservative base to accept Senate modifications, he wants basic change in the way the House functions and is ahead of President Bush in seeking daring tax reform.

Whereas Newt Gingrich had become dysfunctional by the time he was forced out as speaker of the House in 1998, DeLay is at the peak of his powers as Democrats mount an accelerating attack on him. That explains why, in the face of this onslaught, GOP House members have been firm in sticking with him.

It also explains the ginned-up charges.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 2, 2005 7:43 AM
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