Mark Noonan over at Blogs for Bush has now warned Democrats that continuing to attack Delay will apparently somehow result in civil war--though what exactly they intend to do beyond what they have already done, short of declaring Palpatine's "Safe and Secure Society," is beyond me.
Hunter at DailyKos put this piece of idiocy right back in its place with a very satisfying smackdown concerning the hypocrisy of the position in question, but I feel that there are some important considerations that Hunter did not cover.
Hunter's primary angle is "you started it, we'll finish it"--essentially, a justification of engaging in personal destruction--or even witch-hunting--of prominent Republicans. I do feel, given the previous history Republican political and campaign strategy ever since Clinton's election, that all such activity is thoroughly justified, because if we do it too, and prove that we're good at it, perhaps they'll realize it wasn't such a good idea. But the indictment of Tom Delay, and Mark Noonan's warning shot, is about more than that.
I would argue, however, that Delay's indictment does not reach to the level of Whitewater, Swiftboating and Vince Foster. Delay has been rebuked three times for ethics violations by his own party's ethics committee, and we all know about Abramoff. There's certainly enough smoke there to justify the search for a fire, unlike Vince Foster, and it is integral to very relevant current events (unlike Whitewater). So I would argue that in the Delay indictment, we haven't even come close to matching the scorched earch policy that the Republicans have shown to the political climate. We've just shown that we're finally capable of not being cowed into not doing what we should have been doing all along--calling a spade a spade. If the Democrats take control of Congress in 2006, however, I hope we do see a witch-hunt--just so Mark Noonan can know what it really feels like.
But an even bigger point is--why on earth would these people want to take a stand in support of Tom Delay? He has a negative reception. Congress as a whole has a dismal aproval rating. He has, as previously stated, been rebuked for ethics violations three times. A fight was beginning to brew in Congress between Delay, who said that there was no fat in the federal budget to trim, and fiscal conservatives in Congress, who saw plenty. His unpopularity was so marked that the whole Democratic congressional campaign strategy was to tie incumbent Republicans to Delay as closely as possible. So why are they defending this guy? As it is, congress was stalled on Bush's agenda because of the hurricanes and other things that are pushing economic issues back into the mainstream. Bush is even pulling a Carter and pushing conservation, for the sake of everything that's holy. So it's not like they'll miss Delay's effective leadership. And you can bet he'll still be working behind the scenes, he just won't have the official title.
Next question for Mark Noonan: if, as you say, the actions of Tom Delay are relevantly similar to that of every single congressman with regard to fundraising practices, why aren't we seeing investigations and indictments into a whole ton more members of Congress? Because frankly, that's why your legislative heroes were voted into office in 1994--to sweep out the corruption that had overtaken the Democratic House after so many years of majority status. Fulfill your mandate and your purpose then! Clean it up! Go after everybody, Democrats included. Stop talking about Pelosi and get something done. Your boys are in charge of Congress, after all, and personal destruction is your specialty.
Further question: whence comes this "trying to overturn an election" crap, and all the comparisons to 1861? Last time I checked, indicting a corrupt representative does not overturn the results of an election. It's an investigation of potential crimes committed while in office. Tom Delay is still the representative of his district, is he not? Republicans still have the House majority, do they not? Your guys still get to select the next majority leader, do they not? So what is it exactly that's being overturned? The only elections that really ever got overturned in that sort of way happened in 1876 and 2000, and in both cases they had to do with a 1-vote Republican majority on some influential panel or other. And how does this accusation of yours compare with constant attempts to find, something, anything, to impeach Bill Clinton with? Talk about overturning the will of the voters. Tom Delay is the choice of a few Houston suburbs, and that's just about it. And if you can't handle the heat of TRMPAC, try raising money the way Democrats now do--through the people that want them in office, not the corporations that want special favors.
I know you want to keep attacking, Mark--and I will call you Mark--because you don't know how to do anything else, really. But between Franklin, Frist, Delay, Abramoff, Rove, Safavian and who knows what else coming up, you'd better hire a defensive co-ordinator really quick. And here's one thing a defensive co-ordinator doesn't do: he doesn't lie about his opponent's offense to make them feel better about themselves.
I wonder how you sleep at night, Mark. I really do.