Thursday, September 29, 2005

Kurtz: The Horror!

Howard Kurtz knows what the hell he is talking about in the matter of Tom DeLay. Some choice excerpts:

Back in January, House Republican leaders backed off a rule change that would have allowed senior officials in the chamber--say, maybe the House majority leader--to hold onto their posts even if indicted.

Boy, that looks huge right now.

The leadership caved because of rank-and-file complaints that the party would send a lousy message by protecting one of its leaders who was charged with a crime. And with Tom DeLay's indictment yesterday, it's clear why they were so worried. DeLay stepped aside within minutes.

Yes, trying to change the rules at the beginning of the year was a disgrace and it did send a lousy message from the party that claimed, in 1994, to be the party of reform.

Some Repubs are reacting by criticizing the indictment--exactly the sort of thing they scoffed at when Clinton and his allies were ripping Ken Starr's tactics. Sean Hannity (with Colmes banished for the segment) told his first guest he couldn't figure out what the indictment was about. The guest? Tom DeLay, who called the case "ridiculous." Interestingly, DeLay complained about the "politics of personal destruction," a phrase popularized by Bill Clinton, whose ouster the Texan crusaded for ("Anybody who lies to a grand jury ought to be impeached.")

All true. But who watches Hannity and/or Colmes for discourse, or Crossfire, for that matter? Want a reasoned discussion, try the NewsHour or Charlie Rose, both on P.B.S.

"As ye sow, so shall ye reap." This is a lesson the G.O.P. is learning now. Was President Clinton, in the words of Nebraska Democrat Senator Bob Kerrey an "unusually good liar"? Of course. Did he embarrass and perjure himself over Monica? Yes. Was that muted by Republicans hounding him for six years previously with TravelGate, TrooperGate, WhiteWater, and on and on? You betcha. Did the G.O.P.'s impeachment of the president hurt them? Ask former Congressman Jim Rogan about that...

If DeLay is convicted, throw him in jail and out of Congress. Make sure he is stripped of his federal pension, while you are at it. But beware those who already profess his guilt; these are some of the same people who believed in Lynne Stewart's innocence even after her conviction and Martha Stewart's guilt before her indictment. (And for the love of God, don't take this as an endorsement of Martha.)

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