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Updated: DeLay indicted... replacement just as bad...

Updated: House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Il) -- no boy scout himself -- has appointed David Dreier to replace DeLay, who will be busy fighting money laundering charges and pushing the sickening smear that the prosecutor Ronnie Earle is anything short of a principled and nonpartisan public servant.

This will no doubt shock you: Appointing Dreier to replace DeLay is sorta like replacing Vito Corleone with Sonny Corleone. It's the same family.

Ellen Miller of Campaign for America's Future called Dreier a "part of Mr. Delay's web of corruption." And no wonder. Not only did Dreier actually attempt to make it more difficult to file ethics complaints against DeLay, he actually donated cash ($5,000 of it) to DeLay's defense fund.

From a New York Times editorial:

The Republicans also seem bent on reining in the ethics committee for having had the temerity to rebuke Mr. DeLay for some of his more outrageous conduct. The party's Rules Committee chairman, David Dreier, recently sent a letter to House members signaling that he plans to make it even harder than it already is for members to file an ethics complaint...

So what do you call 1,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

A good start.

And that's what an indictment of Tom DeLay is. For one thing, according to the rules (which, let's face it, haven't really been followed much to this point...) DeLay must step down as Majority Leader for the duration of the investigation.

But this Republican congress has a deep and deeply corrupt bench. The replacement is unlikely to be much less sleazy. A bit less able perhaps...

No, the truly important thing is for all the dirty dealers who benefited from DeLay's corruption to be likewise exposed. DeLay's sickness is not confined to him alone. It's like an insurgency that requires willing footsoldiers.

This Austin-American Statesman article does a good job of outlining who currently is -- and isn't -- implicated in DeLay's dealings. But, if Ronnie Earle doesn't follow the money to wherever it may lead, and if local Democrats abandon him to the poltical crows, the DeLay indictment may just interrupt one man's career.

Which is good, but not great. And wouldn't you know it, something called "Beyond DeLay" was launched this week...

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