by Chris Bowers, Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 08:40:28 AM EDT
Update:DeLay Indicted in Campaign Finance Probe
A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, an indictment that could force him to step down as House majority leader.
DeLay attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee....Update 2: Because he has been indicted, DeLay is going to have to step aside as majority leader. Back in November, he tried to change the ethics rules to keep someone who has been indicted from leaving their leadership position. In January, under intense pressure, he was forced to back down from this rule change.
What does this mean for Republicans in the house? Here is a passage from Off Center, a book I am currently reading:In American politics, centrifugal tendencies are everywhere. Asked to contemplate a House of Representatives without the leadership of the great coordinator, Tom DeLay, a Republican strategist with close ties to the White House commented: "It would be complete and total chaos. The House would descend into 'Lord of the Flies.'" (p. 137) Both Roy Blunt and David Dreier have been floated as replacements. I wonder how much the homophobic Republican base would like to see Drier as majority leader. That would cause a nice little fissure between the Republican base and its leaders.
Update 3: The media has been complicit with the Republican smear against prosecuter Earle. Media Matters has the rebuff:While Earle is an elected Democrat, as Media Matters for America has previously noted, a June 17 editorial in the Houston Chronicle commended his work: "During his long tenure, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has prosecuted many more Democratic officials than Republicans. The record does not support allegations that Earle is prone to partisan witch hunts." This assertion supports Earle's own claim about his record; a March 6 article in the El Paso Times reported: "Earle says local prosecution is fundamental and points out that 11 of the 15 politicians he has prosecuted over the years were Democrats." The Repulican Noise Machine is going to push the "partisan politics" line on this one hard. I am already seeing people on CNN and MSNBC repeating this "partisan" crap. The real facts need to be made known.
Update 4: It looks like it will be Dreier, although he might share some of the duties with Blunt:GOP congressional officials said Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., will recommend that Rep. David Dreier of California step into those duties. Some of the duties may go to the GOP whip, Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri. The Republican rank and file may meet as early as Wednesday night to act on Hastert's recommendation. I can just see the Republican base coming to the polls en masse in order to defend a gay majority leader.