Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Delay to retire

Congressman Tom Delay, the former House Majority Leader, has announced that he will retire from Congress. I have mixed feelings about this, but overall I think it is for the best.

On the plus side, Delay was clearly the most conservative member of the House leadership. He helped to make sure that the assault weapons ban was not renewed, and he helped to advance other conservative causes.

Delay has been indicted on completely bogus charges by partisan Democratic prosecutor Ronnie Earle. Some of these charges have already been thrown out, and the others appear to be equally baseless. They allege a highly technical violation of campaign finance law.

However, there are also questions regarding Delay's involvement with corrupt lobbyist extrordinaire Jack Abramoff. While it is unclear exactly what Delay might have done, this appears to be a more substantive issue. It remains to be seen whether Delay's retirement is outracing some new revelation, or just based on concern about his chances of victory, as he has said.

What I find really unconscionable about Delay is what he did to former Rep. Nick Smith, who represented Michigan's 7th district. When Delay was trying to round up votes for the despicable prescription drug entitlement, he offered what was in essence a bribe to obtain Smith's vote. Specifically, he offered to help funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaign of Brad Smith, Nick Smith's son, who was running to succeed his retiring father. Otherwise, he threatened to make Brad Smith lose. Nick Smith did the right thing and voted against the prescription drug bill. The Chamber of Commerce then endorsed the underwhelming Clark Bisbee, funneling him donations that might otherwise have gone to Brad Smith. Both Smith and Bisbee lost, and liberal republican Joe Schwarz won the primary with a measly 28% of the vote.

Other random thoughts: I hope the GOP nominates ultraconservative former congressman Steve Stockman to succeed Delay.

I wonder what the chances are that Bob Ney, the other Abramoff-tainted congressman, will be on the ballot in November?


Dan Roth said...

Delay moving on is a bit sad, but I have strong hopes for the future. As the politicians who were in office as we grew up retire, we younger Republicans will be able to direct the party towards strong conservative standings. I know that there's a lot of good people out there and as openings such as this come around, we can get those good people in good positions.

Gregor said...

Clark Bisbee is ridiculously rich. He has a tennis court in his backyard (you have to be phenomonally wealthy to do that). I just decided to throw that out there.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha, you do not... I know plenty of people who have them.

Anonymous said...

DeLay's retirement is a big disappointment. What he says is absolutely right: Foam-at-the-mouth partisan Democrats are to blame. Tom DeLay was amazingly successful at implementing a conservative agenda, and Democrats went after him because he was so good at it.

But I have to take issue with your comments about Schwarz. He's not a liberal Republican. He's voted for tax cuts, he's supported the NRA position and he's totally behind the president on the War on Terror.

If that's a liberal, then I'm really confused.

Joel DeLorge said...

I hope Tom Delay gets everything thats coming to him. He made a comment that its the liberal democrats trying to bring him down. As a conservative we preach to be in control of our actions, some of those actions have consqences. In Tom Delay's case he is facing his.

Bill Clinton stated there was a Right Wing agenda to punish him and bring him down. Conservatives and republicans stressed that it was Bill Clinton who took himself down. Now Tom Delay is doing the same thing liberals were saying in the 1990s about Bill Clinton.

Since Tom Delay left Congress, he will now get his pention and benefits.

I hope he gets what he deserves. If not this lifetime, but his next.