The toppling of the King of Corruption
Of course the biggest Capitol Hill political news in a long time has set literally thousands of insiders' and bloggers' tongues a-wagging and computers a-clicking, thinking about how to frame the Delay cut-and-run, and what it might mean for conservatives, Bush, the 2006 election... and of course the people of the United States who will be affected by this reign of corruption for many years to come. The political juices are flowing mightily.
It seems clear that the big message -- the narrative so to speak -- has to do with the fact that the conservatives came to power displacing the liberals and Dems, and became the country's dominant political force. But there was nothing actually conservative about the lot of them. Rather, they are crooks and corrupt operators, and their pursuit of irresponsible and reckless policies have put the country in an extremely vulnerable spot.
This is not a story just about the bug killer Tom Delay, but about the downfall of a philosophy that the political process, the budget, the K Street operations, the ripping off of the Indian tribes, and on and on, all represent a corrupt cash register philosophy of government simply described as: "How can we make money from this."
And of course the goal is to not let DeLay become the next scapegoat, as Abramoff has been positioned, but rather go after the whole lot of them -- from Bush to Chaney to Hastert to Frist -- the whole slew of them had to be, if not participating, condoning the whole rotten to the core operation that sold off the government wholesale.
As for why now, why Delay decided to take the big hike -- Christy Hardin Smith at Fire Dog Lake has an interesting theory she calls the Family Squeeze Theory:
"I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with motivation for DeLay to just walk away from his beloved power and money machine - and the only puzzle piece that seems to fit is some sort of concern for his family. If DeLay's wife and daughter were in the crosshairs, who wouldn't he be willing to sell out to save them? Himself? Other members of Congress and the KStreet gang?
The New York Times reported that DeLay's wife and daughter have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by DeLay's political action and campaign committees, according to a detailed review of disclosure statements filed with the Federal Election Commission and separate fund-raising records in Texas.
The Times said the payments to DeLay's wife, Christine DeLay, and his only child, Dani DeLay Ferro, were described in the disclosure forms as "fund-raising fees," "campaign management" or "payroll," with no additional details about how they earned the money. And while sloppy bookeeping seems to be a hallmark of this rubber stamp Republican Congress and Administration (considering the raising of the debt ceiling -- again -- under their watch), that's a whole lot of questions about two members of the family over a considerable amount of time.
Let me be clear, campaigns hire family members all the time to do legitimate work. On both sides of the aisle. But proper accounting and record-keeping generally accompanies such hiring - because obviously in this political climate, questions are bound to be raised now and then. To have the DeLays be so vague, so sloppy, in their record-keeping over so many instances, really begs the question - why? Were they hiding something? Did the Feds find it?
It would explain a lot in my mind.