September 28, 2005

THE CRIMINALIZATION OF POLITICAL SPEECH:

DeLay Indicted in Campaign Finance Probe (LARRY MARGASAK, September 28, 2005, The Associated Press)

A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, forcing the House majority leader to temporarily relinquish his post.

DeLay attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee.

"I have notified the speaker that I will temporarily step aside from my position as majority leader pursuant to rules of the House Republican Conference and the actions of the Travis County district attorney today," DeLay said.

GOP congressional officials said Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., will recommend that Rep. David Dreier of California step into those duties. Some of the duties may go to the GOP whip, Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri. The Republican rank and file may meet as early as Wednesday night to act on Hastert's recommendation.


It would be especially sweet if the Court tossed Buckley on an appeal by Tom DeLay. Democrats' heads might never stop spinning.


MORE:
“Dollars for Dismissals”: The prosecutor in the DeLay case dropped charges in exchange for cash to pet cause. (Byron York, 9/28/05, National Review)

Ronnie Earle, the Texas prosecutor who has indicted associates of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in an ongoing campaign-finance investigation, dropped felony charges against several corporations indicted in the probe in return for the corporations' agreement to make five- and six-figure contributions to one of Earle's pet causes.

A grand jury in Travis County, Texas, last September indicted eight corporations in connection with the DeLay investigation. All were charged with making illegal contributions (Texas law forbids corporate giving to political campaigns). Since then, however, Earle has agreed to dismiss charges against four of the companies — retail giant Sears, the restaurant chain Cracker Barrel, the Internet company Questerra, and the collection company Diversified Collection Services — after the companies pledged to contribute to a program designed to publicize Earle's belief that corporate involvement in politics is harmful to American democracy.


Blunt picked to replace DeLay as US House leader (Reuters, 9/28/05)
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously elected Roy Blunt of Missouri as their majority leader, replacing Tom DeLay, who was forced to give up the job after being indicted by a Texas grand jury, lawmakers said.

After a closed-door meeting of House Republicans, lawmakers said Blunt's position was an interim arrangement for the rest of the year and that he would share leadership responsibilities with Rep. David Dreier of California.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 28, 2005 1:11 PM
Comments

Well, I suppose it's theoretically possible that this time Ronnie Earle actually has some evidence to support his indictment of a prominent Republican...but somehow I doubt it.

Posted by: b at September 28, 2005 1:45 PM

It's a conspiracy charge, for heaven's sake. Conspiracy charges are for times when you can't find anything substantive.

Posted by: sam at September 28, 2005 1:51 PM

I don't mind your party having a gay man as its House Majority leader. Do you?

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at September 28, 2005 1:51 PM

Indict? sure. Convict? That's a whole 'nother ball of wax.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 1:51 PM

Rick:

No. He votes straight.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 1:55 PM

The grand jury was up against a deadline TODAY to indict.

Apparently, prosecutors were working the phones even last last night trying to pull this thing together.

And what is this thing? A conspiracy charge. As an earlier commenter said, that's just weak on its face.

I still don't think Ronnie Earle has much here, but he has expended so much in the way of resources that he HAD to come up with something on this one. What he came up with doesn't look like much.

Posted by: kevin whited at September 28, 2005 1:55 PM

Then why do you want a purge of gay Cardinals?

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at September 28, 2005 2:00 PM

Rick: Note that you were the only person who brought it up...

Posted by: b at September 28, 2005 2:02 PM

I brought it up because I'm curious. Orrin thinks it's OK for soldiers to frag their gay comrades, then gays are pathological as such, that they are the product of screwy parenting, no matter how they vote--and yet he doesn't mind one running his House caucus.

I'm just trying to figure these things out.

By the way, overturning Buckley will start the chain reaction that forever ends Republican control of government. I'm willing to trade that away for DeLay's freedom.

Posted by: Rick Persltein at September 28, 2005 2:09 PM

Rick:

I'd oppose making Mr. Dreier a cardinal as well. He's a politician, not a priest.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 2:10 PM

How about a boy scout?

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at September 28, 2005 2:11 PM

No, he can't be a Boy Scout either. He can't meet the moral requirements.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 2:15 PM

Nonsense. You brought it up because you don't think a homosexual can legitimately the support Republican party, and vice versa. Why don't you just come out and call him an Uncle (whatever derogatory term your ilk has for Republican homosexuals).

Posted by: b at September 28, 2005 2:24 PM

Uncle Tom Cousineau.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 2:29 PM

No, I wonder whether the Republican Party can legitimately support a homosexual. But my worries have been dissolved by Orrin's ringing declaration that he maintains a lower standard for his Congressional leadership than he does for entrants in pine car derbies.

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at September 28, 2005 2:29 PM

There goes Perlstein again - looking for bulwarks against Bush (and the GOP). And sounding like John Kerry and John Edwards while he does it (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

But with DeLay off-stage (temporarily), what will the Dems attribute their continued weakness in the House to? Perhaps Bill Thomas should be Majority Leader.

If DeLay is acquitted, or (more likely) if the charges are dropped, will anyone apologize to DeLay? Mr Perlstein?

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 28, 2005 2:29 PM

Rick:

I'd vote against him personally, but so long as his votes in Congress are against gay rights and the caucus supports him it hardly seems to matter much. And, of course, we have lower standards for mere politics. That's what makes us conservative. It is you folk for whom the state is all.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 2:37 PM

Rick -

Churchgoers look to their religious leaders for moral guidance while congressmen look to their constituents for moral guidence. You are confusing hierarchical positioning with moral authority. There is no contradiction in OJ's position (not this one anyway).

And yes note that the only gay-baiting (and race-baiting) that occurs on this site is done by the liberal posters.

Posted by: Shelton at September 28, 2005 2:37 PM

In fact, Rick, we have lower standards for a Congressman than we do for a piano player in a whorehouse. Not that the two jobs are really all that different.

Posted by: joe shropshire at September 28, 2005 2:44 PM

Does this look like a plan coming together or what?

As long as a Republican congressman supports the president and votes accordingly, he's okay with me.

Who's not okay, is Shays, a double dealing cretin who should just permanently move across the aisle to be with his ideological comrades. I wanted to smash his face at the Brown hearings yesterday.

One of trolls on another string described us as being full of hate. Yeah, sure. Did you get a gander at Shay's face? Distorted with the hatred of a full blown case of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by: erp at September 28, 2005 2:56 PM

Why shouldn't he be angry at Mr. Brown?

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 3:02 PM

Only someone who profoundly misunderstands conservatism could possibly believe that a congressman warrants a stricter set of restrictions than a Boy Scout leader.

(PS: I hear that Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter is a lesbian.)

Posted by: Timothy at September 28, 2005 3:03 PM

And not just a lesbian, but a Republican lesbian!

Posted by: ratbert at September 28, 2005 3:05 PM

Hey, if you had to look across the aisle of the House as majority leader and see Nancy Pelosi as your counterpart on the other side all the time, wouldn't that be a motivating factor to rethink your sexual orientation (kind of like the distaff version of George Castanza)?

As for Ronnie Earle, he's kind of the district attorney version of University of Texas coach Mack Brown. Mack can recruit all the big names, he just can't coach 'em when it comes down to the really big game. With Earle, he can indict the big names, like Jim Mattox or Kay Bailey Hutchison over decade ago, he just can't convict them when it's time to put up or shut up in court. We'll see with DeLay if he remains a better self-promoter than prosecutor.

Posted by: John at September 28, 2005 3:06 PM

b,

Auntie Tom, I'm thinking.

Posted by: Kelly at September 28, 2005 3:19 PM

That David Dreier is a homosexual is news to me. I just did a Google search and see that liberals and progressives like Rick here have "outed" him because he votes against "gay" issues. Very nice of privacy advocates like Rick and his ilk in the "progressive" community to violate Drier's privacy.

To answer your question Rick, no, we don't mind. Most of us, I'm sure there are people who would. Just like there are "progressives" that send their kids to private schools so they don't associate with black kids.

It always amazes "progressives" when their stereotypes of conservatives are not met. Rick, you need to get out more. You know there are people who don't fixate on sex all the time.

Posted by: Bob at September 28, 2005 3:25 PM

"Why shouldn't he be angry at Mr.Brown"

Because Mr. Brown did nothing wrong.

Posted by: h-man at September 28, 2005 3:26 PM

Bob, I fixate on naught but human rights.

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at September 28, 2005 3:34 PM

DeLay is gay? Hey! No way! Is that okay?

In all seriousness, Rick, where did that issue come from? Is this something you got off Daily Kos (same posting that "outed" Chief Justice Roberts' 4-year old son), or is it just that you have the sensitivity on your gaydar dialed up to maximum?

Posted by: Mike Morley at September 28, 2005 3:35 PM

Homosexuality isn't a right.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 3:36 PM

. . . and some say it's a wrong.

Posted by: obc at September 28, 2005 3:41 PM

...naught but human rights
Rick, that sort of high solemn self-righteous pretentiousness from its political professionals, which you are, is largely what cost your party its majority status. You sound like Jimmy Carter's id, for Chrissakes.

Posted by: joe shropshire at September 28, 2005 3:46 PM

Joe, this interests me. In what possible way, shape, or form am I a Democratic Party "political professional"?

Really, I look forward to your response.

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at September 28, 2005 3:51 PM

You're a journalist, Rick.

Posted by: joe shropshire at September 28, 2005 3:53 PM

Rick:

You did just spend the 2004 election cycle writing anti-Bush hit pieces for the Voice and they did pay you, no?

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 3:54 PM

Don't they have a name for people who try to screw someone (at a newspaper) AND get paid for it? No, not journalist but . . .

Posted by: obc at September 28, 2005 4:06 PM

I have to say, I think I'm looking forward to Rick's response far more than he was looking forward to Joe's. The threads are so much more entertaining when you're around, Rick!

Posted by: Timothy at September 28, 2005 4:09 PM

Let's not pass too quickly over Rick's implicit concession, in his comment about the effect of overturning Buckley, that the Democrats are the party of the rich.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 28, 2005 4:18 PM

Well, Dreier's out. I guess the Republicans aren't as tolerant as you all claim.

I write hit pieces on whoever I want to write hit pieces on. That, last year, included Joe Lieberman and Howard Dean.

You guys would hate the moral world of our founding fathers. The press then was much nastier, much more freighted with personal attacks, much more partisan. That was the press to whose freedom they pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.

They didn't much bother with what I based my journalism on: evidence and logic. (And, by the way, I haven't written any journalism in eight months, though it's good to know my legend lives on.)

You all would have really thought they were a bunch of meanies. You would have retired to your fainting couches. Words make you very afeard.

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at September 28, 2005 4:19 PM

Rick, you're the easiest person to bait around here since the late unlamented Harry Eagar (also a journalist, by the way.) Excessive self-regard does that to a man. You're welcome to be just as mean as you like, so long as you stay just as vain as you are. Do come back soon.

Posted by: joe shropshire at September 28, 2005 4:30 PM

Rick:

Wow, you attacked Joe Lieberman? That's so rare from a Lefty hack.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 4:32 PM

Rick:

Our side is not the one which cried out - "Bring It On!", only to go crying to the media within about a week, when it was brung.

"Call off your on-bringers!"

I think you overestimate your powers. But many journalists do.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 28, 2005 4:44 PM

Like I said, the entertainment never fails.

You guys would hate the moral world of our founding fathers. The press then was much nastier, much more freighted with personal attacks, much more partisan.

If we hated that sort of thing, why would we spend any time in the BroJudd comments? Since that's pretty much what you described...

Seriously, why don't you get that we don't mind that you're a reliably partisan hack? Heck, we don't even mind that you refuse to admit that you're a reliably partisan hack. But it entertains us, and makes us less likely to leave sanctimony such as you flung a few comments back un-mocked.

Posted by: Timothy at September 28, 2005 4:59 PM

"Bob, I fixate on naught but human rights". I base my work on "evidence and logic". Rick, you should take up stand up comedy you're such a laugh riot.

Is privacy not a human right? You seem to like to deny it to those you disagree with.

As for Blunt taking the spot, maybe the intial reports were wrong. Isn't Blunt the next in line as whip? Why would Drier leap over him? Isn't that logical? No, it must be the evil gay hating GOPers.

By the way, Blunt is twice the politician Drier is. Maybe better than DeLay. Maybe Earle did our side a favor.

Posted by: Bob at September 28, 2005 4:59 PM

h-man. Darn right, Brown did nothing wrong.

Bob, this is so typical. The media put out the info that Dreier didn't get the job because he's gay even though he wasn't in line for it.

Posted by: erp at September 28, 2005 5:42 PM

Joe:
"... the late unlamented Harry Eagar ..."
Did something happen to Harry that I missed? I always enjoyed his reliably socialist comments.

Posted by: jd watson [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 28, 2005 5:58 PM

Rick Perlstein:

In the days of the Founding Fathers, certain publications would throw harsh criticisms at their opponents and the other side would respond in kind. In other words, it was similar to the comments section on this website, except that most of the posters here have a higher regard for factual accuracy (admittedly that's not a high standard to beat).

You completely misread our intentions. I don't see anybody around here crying. Nobody is retiring to a fainting couch because you guys consider Bush a Nazi or because you're penning hatchet jobs on GOP politicos -- we're just laughing at you.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 28, 2005 6:01 PM

Nah, figure of speech. He's still hanging out in his pumpkin patch for all I know

Posted by: joe shropshire at September 28, 2005 6:05 PM

Matt:

It's symptomatic though of the fact that all humor is conservative that they don't get that we find it funny when they call us fascists.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 6:05 PM

Harry is recovering from The Hobbit turning out to be a hoax too.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 6:06 PM

What happened to Harry? I miss his prose almost as much as I miss Bart's.

Posted by: Dave W. at September 28, 2005 6:11 PM

Tom Cousineau?

Late of the Cleveland Browns and SF 49ers?

Maybe you meant Tom Cruise?

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 28, 2005 6:22 PM

OJ:

Precisely what I was thinking.

When I was a college undergrad, I used to sit in the college library and read The Nation or The New Republic alongside The Weekly Standard or NR (sometimes I brought a copy of The American Spectator). I realized that a sense of humor or fun tends to disappear the further left you go.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 28, 2005 6:38 PM

Obligatory Perlstein response:

OJ: he is your friend, you make the garlic bread.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 28, 2005 8:28 PM

I still don't know where Rick got the idea that DeLay is gay. Is it all just play, or did someone truly say he was gay? Pray, don't go away and end the day until you say, okay?

Posted by: Mike Morley at September 28, 2005 9:48 PM

You can give Rick a little slack on this one -- the rumor's been around for a while.

I heard it 5-6 years ago from a friend in California, who was told about it by an aide to another Southern California Republican congressman. The subject came up because they were talking about potential rising stars in the GOP, and my friend made a comment about Drier, and the fact he had just been seen with a Hollywood movie starlet. The aide told him that might not be what it seems to be, in a Crusian-like way. (I'll have to e-mail my friend to be sure, but if I remember right, the female celeb Drier was reportedly escorting was either Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts -- of course, from OJ's point of view, if it was the latter that would go even further towards proving Rick's claim).

Posted by: John at September 28, 2005 10:16 PM

Speaking about gays, anyone else notice that the two Democratics on the 2004 ticket looked like a they might tend that way?

Is there a limper wrist than Kerry's. Check that picture of him tossing a football and his running mate, the Breck girl,'nuf said.

Posted by: erp at September 29, 2005 7:37 AM

Mr. Morley:
I say, Delay may be a little fey but I dare say he isn't all the way gay. Not like OJ, who's as gay as a spring day in Mandelay. Or so I've heard.

Posted by: Governor Breck at September 29, 2005 1:28 PM

heard? Bashful, aren't we?

Posted by: oj at September 29, 2005 1:36 PM
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