A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

If you tell a soul. . .

. . .I swear I'll deny it, but Andrew Sullivan is still one of my daily reads, as he continues to show flashes of utter brilliance -- like when he agrees with me.

It pains me to say it, and I know I'll be labeled a RINO by some in my party, and my camels might be cursed with fleas before it's over, but I have to sort of kind of agree with him on the whole DeLay issue.

While the substance of the charges may be as false and frivolous as the avalanche of ethics complaints David Bonior filed against Newt Gingrich, the fact of the matter is that, if DeLay ends up being indicted, it will have been done by a legal, Constitutional grand jury. And, the other fact to consider is that it will be covered pretty much the same way in which the Bonior-Gingrich War was covered by the press.

While the blogosphere has changed the way news coverage impacts matters before the public eye, I can't see the majority of right-leaning blogs rising up in righteous indignation in defense of the House Republicans on this matter. And, after all, we've just spent the past year excoriating the Democratic presidential nominee for his flip-floppery. To do this now, in this political atmosphere, seems like not only the wrong thing to do, but the politically counterproductive thing to do.

When the GOP made the requirement that House leadership positions couldn't be held by members under indictment, that's exactly what the GOP meant to do -- and in passing the rule, they knew the day would come when such a thing would happen to one of its leaders. Politicians are not babes in the woods. They know how easy it is to get an indictment. They also knew how likely it was that Democrats would use the rule to their political advantage, given the opportunity, and they agreed to the consequences.

Well, now the inevitable has occurred, and the bluff has been called. Republicans can choose to either be the party that sticks to its word, and plays by the rules, or we can choose to become the party we voted out of power in 1994 for the very same reasons.

Part of me is loathe to concede anything in this matter. There's a perfectly reasonable sounding voice in the back of my head that's telling me, "If you let them win thisone, it will only be the beginning of another avalanche. They will not cease until they've taken down every prominent Republican politician using nothing more than allegations could just as well be levelled at the proverbial ham sandwich."

But, should that begin to happen, I dare say the blogosphere would be much better prepared to defend against such a thing. It's much easier to defend individual politicians against frivolous charges than it is to defend a whole party against charges of poitical expediency -- especially when the evidence is so damning, as it will be in this case. It's right there in black and white to anyone who wants to call up the Congressional Record.

Whether or not Tom DeLay is the official House Majority LeaderĀ¹, he will still hold considerable influence by the simple fact of his seniority. He was undeniably influential in his roll as House Whip, which holds no real power, other than the satisfaction that one feels at the end of a successful day of wrangling cats.

So, go ahead. Ostracize me if you will. But, I have to side with Andrew Sullivan, John Podhoretz, and David Brooks (requires registration) on this one. I just don't have the energy to perform all the mental contortions it would take for me to defend the rules change. I have too much of my own sense of fairplay and consistency at stake with regard to rules changes being made in order to guarantee a favorable outcome.

1. Correction: Previously referred to Tom DeLay as House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, instead of Majority Leader, as I apparently still think of him as the "Powerful Texas House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Tom 'The Hammer' DeLay". Years of watching politics on TV will do that to a person.

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