Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Tom, Tom, the Deed Is Done

[[M O R E]] * There are plenty of fine follow-up stories today about Tom DeLay’s premature departure from Congress (see here, here, here, here, and here). But Steven Benen, of Carpetbagger Report fame, takes up one the most interesting topics--what will DeLay do next?--in an entry for The Huffington Post’s blog:
DeLay told Time, for example, “I can do more on the outside of the House than I can on the inside right now. I want to continue to fight for the conservative cause. I want to continue to work for a Republican majority. It’s obvious to me over the last few months, I have tremendous support, not just in the 22nd District.” He also told the Galveston News, “I can continue to be a leader of the conservative cause.”

I realize that DeLay’s been under quite a strain lately, but if he seriously believes he’s going to be national conservative leader after he resigns from the House, he’s in deep, deep denial.

For one thing, he’s facing felony charges in Texas, and may soon be facing
even more serious criminal charges in D.C. “Any rational person in his [DeLay’s] position would be very concerned,” said Kendall Coffey, a former federal prosecutor. ...

For another, DeLay seems confused about the source of his influence. He’s been a right-wing hero, but it came as a result of his ability to leverage the power of his office. DeLay ran the House with a clenched fist, demanded party loyalty, and punished anyone who strayed or got in his way. But without an office from which to rule, DeLay is a former bug-spray salesman who was forced to resign from Congress in disgrace. It’s not exactly the kind of development that launches a successful post-political career.

And lastly, there’s no real evidence that anyone, anywhere,
wants him to “lead the conservative cause.” ...

Paul Weyrich, chairman of the Free Congress Foundation and a powerful conservative activist, didn’t see any room for DeLay in the top ranks of right-wing leaders outside D.C. “As an elected official, when he called conservatives together, he was in a position to do so,” Weyrich said. “On what basis does he operate from the outside?”
An excellent question. Ol’ Tom may have a lot more free time on his hands after leaving Congress than he expects.

READ MORE:Tom DeLay to Pursue Corruption in Private Sector” (The Onion); “I Remembered Tom DeLay,” by Joseph Hughes (Hughes for America).

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