Friday, June 09, 2006

Delay goes bye-bye

In a development overshadowed by Zarqawi news, Tom DeLay gave a fiery resignation speech on the floor of Congress yesterday, presaging his formal resignation today.

"Given the chance to do it all again, there's only one thing I'd change," DeLay said in a defiant retirement speech on the House floor. "I'd fight even harder."

Fight even harder for what? Raw partisanship? $490,000 in personal payments from lobbyists? Turning K Street into an arm of the GOP? The rebukes by the House ethics committee?

Yeah, lots to be proud of there.

It's also interesting to note that DeLay is moving his official residence to Virginia -- an acknowledgement that he hasn't been a Texan for a very long time. This is a common occurrence among long-tenured politicians, who spend more time in Washington than "back home". But at a time when the GOP still tries to style itself as the "outside the beltway" party, it's past time to recognize that their leadership, like the Democrats', is very much inside the Beltway.

Meanwhile, Texas Democrats have sued to keep DeLay on the ballot, despite him moving to a different state.

That may sound silly and unsporting at first glance, and it is. But it's part of a complex dance initiated -- unsurprisingly -- by DeLay. By resigning in June rather than earlier Delay gets a chance to choose his successor, rather than leave it to the vagaries of the primary process. So he's trying to game the system.

The Democrats are gaming it right back, saying Texas law does not allow the Republicans to replace him on the ballot unless he clearly is unqualified to hold office. At the very least the lawsuit delays the naming of a replacement, which robs the eventual GOP candidate of crucial time for campaigning and fundraising.

That may be good political strategy, but the Dems should drop the suit. The GOP ought to have the right to run anybody they wish; the primary is a party function, not an order that must be followed. And who knows when the Democrats will find themselves in a similar situation?

Goodbye to Tom DeLay, and good riddance. But let the contest to replace him be fair and open.

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Blogger JP said...

Goodbye, and good riddance!

6/09/2006 6:18 PM  

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