Great news and views sent by my friend Ken from Cali today. LS
In case you hadn't heard, Tom DeLay has officially announced that he will not try to regain the leadership of the GOP in congress. News stories are mentioning the pressure he was under to take this step, but one can only imagine the enormity of effort it took to force him out. The tough guys don't go easily.
The situation is rapidly approaching a parallel of the one that occurred in the early 90's, when Newt Gingrich, then the Minority Leader, forced the resignations of all the key tough guys in the Democratic leadership, also based on corruption charges. The minute guys like Dan Rostenkowski were gone (in 1994) and weaker guys took their places, Newty moved in for the kill and the GOPs have owned congress pretty much ever since. We can only hope that the GOPs are moving into a similar era.
Between the tageting of Frist and DeLay, one has to think someone has read the Newt playbook. Excise the real players and you have a bunch of guys who can talk a good game, but it's a game that isn't strong enough to take them to the top, except at the end of a cycle when the real shtarkers are learning the meaning of Minimum Security.
With the Abramoff corruption charges only beginning, and the Cunningham corruption story just really coming into focus, the advantages of GOP ownership of congress are greatly diminished to begin with. If they can't demand the gigantic tributes of days of yore without risking getting sucked into the corruption maelstrom, they're revealed to be a bunch of weenie-arm chihuahuas. With midget-sized leadership they're starting to look like a bull at the end of a bullfight. Hopefully Harry Reid and his forces can deliver the final blows.
By the way, if this "Great Man" theory of political cycles is true, then between Harry Reid and Howard Dean we may have the beginnings of a strong resurgence. (I'd like to think there are some Great Women coming up too, but I don't look to Pelosi or Senator Clinton to be those figures.)
Question worth asking: Presuming nobody in Congress knows who Duke Cunningham chatted with whilst wearing his wire, how does the GOP actually know who is NOT going to get hit with an indictment? Who do you trust with leadership, when you don't know who is on the prosecutors' to-do list.
DeLay to Quit Leadership Post
By DAVID ESPO , 01.07.2006, 12:27 PM
Embattled Rep. Tom DeLay decided Saturday to give up his post as House majority leader, clearing the way for new leadership elections among House Republicans eager to shed the taint of scandal, two officials said.
These officials said DeLay, R-Texas, was preparing a letter informing fellow House Republicans of his decision. These officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they did not want to pre-empt the formal announcement.
DeLay is battling campaign finance charges in Texas and was forced to step aside temporarily as majority leader last fall after he was charged in his home state. He has consistently maintained his innocence and said he intended to resume his leadership post once cleared.
His about-face came amid growing pressure from fellow Republicans who were concerned about their own political futures in the wake of this week's guilty pleas by lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt, the party whip who temporarily has filled in for DeLay, was expected to run for majority leader.
Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, a former member of the leadership, is also likely to run.
Elections are likely the week of Jan. 30, when lawmakers return to the Capitol.
DeLay intends to remain in Congress, these officials said, and plans to seek a new term in November.
DeLay acted hours after a small vanguard of Republicans circulated a petition calling for leadership elections and citing DeLay's legal problems as well as his long ties to Abramoff.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press.