Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The scoop

The NY Times and the Post discuss what happened with the DeLay rule.

Love the picture with the Times story.

The Times:

Some Republicans who originally opposed the rules change enthusiastically greeted the decision not to go through with it.

"It allows the Republicans to focus on the issues, the agenda that is before us and not to have Tom DeLay be the issue," Representative Zach Wamp, Republican of Tennessee, said. "I feel like we have just taken a shower."

What a cool name!

Aides to Mr. DeLay said the Republican decision to drop the rule changes had been intended to defuse the Democratic attack.

Translation: the Democrats said jump and the Republicans jumped. Ha!

"It is never a good idea when you are involved in a road race or any other athletic contest to tie your shoelaces together," Representative J. D. Hayworth, Republican of Arizona, said.

Even the Republicans knew this was a bad idea and are pissed at DeLay for embarrassing them like this. Don't listen to all the nice-nice talk about how the Republicans "admire" DeLay for "taking a bullet for the team". That's just making lemonade-out-of-lemons talk.

The Post:

House Republican leaders last night abandoned a proposal to loosen rules governing members' ethical conduct, as they yielded to pressure from rank-and-file lawmakers concerned that the party was sending the wrong message.

This story gives more credit for the reversal to the Republican dissenters than to the Democrats. But would those dissenters have been able to dissent were it not for the Democrats making a lot of noise about it? I doubt it.

DeLay told the caucus last night that he is confident he will not face indictment, said a DeLay spokesman, Jonathan Grella. Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) said during a break in the meeting that the "indictment rule" was restored in part because of complaints that members had heard back home.

Fainthearted Republicans, strong Democratic opposition and complaints from constituents. Sometimes Democracy works..

Aides said DeLay made the decision quite a while ago that he would propose changing the rule on indictments back to the previous version, saying that he could see Democrats would continue using the change as a basis for personal attacks. The aides said DeLay did not want to put Republicans through it, and wanted to deny Democrats the opening.

In other words, they knew that the Democratic complaints might actually draw blood and they didn't want to "take a bullet" for DeLay.

Brendan Daly, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said: "Even for Republicans, this proposed change was unconscionable. The issue simply became too hot for them to handle, so they had to drop it."

Democrats should not let Republicans get away with making it sound like they did the honorable thing. This is a good start. The Republicans were forced out on a limb of hypocrisy and the Democrats were coming at them with a big grin and a chainsaw. Fortunately for them, their constituents and some of their more thoughtful colleagues got them to come down before it was too late.

Of course, CBS now has a story that says that an indictment of DeLay is unlikely.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, appears to have dodged a bullet.

The powerful GOP chieftain is unlikely to be indicted by a state grand jury probing alleged campaign finance violations in Texas, according to an official involved in the investigation.

"No, no, I really don’t think DeLay will be indicted," the official told CBSNews.com. "And to be quite honest, [DeLay’s] lawyers know that."

It's real easy to "take a bullet for the team" when you can "dodge the bullet" at the same time. Does this mean that this was the reason the Republicans backed down? It probably contributed to DeLay backing down, but the above articles show that Republicans are giving credit to Democratic pressure.

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