Will DeLay's Fate Be Sealed in Two Days?

Two days. Just two days.

On Tuesday, while the progressive blogosphere will be intently watching the Democratic primary in Texas' 28th congressional district between Rep. Henry Cuellar and former-Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, another important congressional primary will also be occurring in the Lone Star State on the other side of the aisle.

In what will likely be an indication of how favorable conservative Republican voters are towards the status quo, GOP voters in Texas' 22nd CD will decide Tuesday whether Tom DeLay should be the party's nominee in November or instead whether a relative outsider should garner the party's backing.

The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and the Associated Press all run articles on DeLay's surprisingly difficult primary campaign, and The Dallas Morning News notes that DeLay is quizzically staying in Washington rather than flying home for the campaign -- or even election night. But perhaps the most interesting piece of news relating to the race came in the form of The Houston Chronicle's endorsement in the primary, with the newspaper's editorial board voicing strong support for DeLay's Republican primary opponent.

Thoughtful Republicans in District 22 want better for their party and its future. To that end, the best choice in this primary field is Tom Campbell. An attorney and former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration general counsel, Campbell bills himself as a clean Tom DeLay, someone who shares the staunch Republican values of his district but who recognizes that special interest influence in Congress must be reined in and stronger ethics and disclosure rules promulgated.

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March 7 voting offers GOP primary voters a large opportunity -- one the Chronicle strongly recommends they take -- to reject DeLayism and all its unseemly trappings once and for all. Constituents can send a strong message far outside district borders that says the effort to reclaim the good name of the Republican Party may as well start here and now -- in Tom DeLay's home district.

While newspaper endorsements do not carry the same weight that they once did -- remember, John Kerry received more newspaper endorsements than Democratic nominees traditionally do but still lost both the popular and electoral votes to George W. Bush -- but to the casual Republican voter (one who is faithful to the GOP in general elections but does not consistently vote in primary elections), this might be just enough of a prod to get him or her to the polls on Tuesday.

It's not entirely clear to me whether Democratic chances in the district would be affected by a DeLay win or loss in Tuesday's primary -- the potential independent candidacy of former-Rep. Steve Stockman, a strong conservative, would undoubtedly siphon votes off the GOP nominee, no matter who he is, thus helping former Democratic Rep. Nick Lampson in the general -- though traditional wisdom would likely state that the Democrats are better off with a wounded, though not defeated Tom DeLay. Whatever the case may be, this bellwether race is one to watch on Tuesday, just two days from now.

Check out the poll in the extended entry section...

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My visit to the Supreme Court to hear the Redistricting Argument

Today I went to the Supreme Court of the United States to hear oral arguments in the consolidated cases of the League of United Latin American Citizens et al. v. Perry, Travis County et. al. v. Perry, Jackson et. al. v. Perry and the GI Forum et. al. v. Perry, or the "Texas Redistricting Cases." I arrived around ten in the morning to wait for the afternoon argument and sat dutifully, number forty in a reasonably cheery line of interested parties for about three hours total of waiting.  

A couple of graduate students in politics from the New School for Social Research were in front of me.  Behind me was an intern for freshman congressman Mike Conaway of Midland, a product of the Texas redistricting.  Despite the partisan diversity, there was camaraderie in waiting out the chilly tedium.  One nice lady I am certain was a Texan offered us cookies.  

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GOP Corrupts Everything It Touches

Although I've picked the hapless and pathetic GOP closet queen from Florida, Mark Foley, as "The Bad," almost any Republican congressman would have fit nicely between Virgil Goode, Jr and Katherine Harris in Adam's slight update of Clint Eastwood's classic THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY. Today's WASHINGTON POST is too polite to mention that the gay-bashing gay caballero is gay himself but they also chose to use Foley as an example. Foley, a total rubber-stamp Republican-- who brags on his own website that he has supported Bush 90% of the time-- made a big hysterical splash for the media and the folks back home (the same way that Long Island loudmouth Peter King and countless other GOP scared-shitless hypocrites did) about how he would not allow Bush to get away with endangering our national security by selling off the ports to Bush family crooked business associates in Dubai. Of course now they're all buying into the fake "compromise" Bush and Frist have worked out which basically calls for a "cooling off" period (so Republicans and their media allies can calm down the public) before the deal can go through. (They already exerted pressure on CNN to shut Lou Dobbs up.)

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How John Carter Missed Miss Texas, Found Tom Delay, and Forgot the Veterans

As many of you know, I'm an Army wife and mom running as the Democratic candidate for Congress against Republican incumbent John Carter in central Texas.

Recently, I was privileged to be at our local VA hospital on Valentine's Day for their annual tribute to our veterans. Carter was also invited but didn't show.  

Carter's office did send a rep who told us Carter must be real busy because he wouldn't normally miss the chance to spend the afternoon with Miss Texas who was touring the VA hospital....  It seems he missed the point.

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IRS Probe Instigated by DeLay Ally Goes Nowhere

Confronted by a good government organization questioning his unethical actions, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay reverted to his modus operandi: sicking the federal government on his detractors with the help of one of his close friends. But as R. Jeffrey Smith reports in Monday's issue of The Washington Post, DeLay's attempt to quash his opposition failed miserably -- and in fact makes him look even worse (if such a thing were possible).

The Internal Revenue Service recently audited the books of a Texas nonprofit group that was critical of campaign spending by former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) after receiving a request for the audit from one of DeLay's political allies in the House.

The lawmaker, House Ways and Means Committee member Sam Johnson (R-Tex.), was in turn responding to a complaint about the group, Texans for Public Justice, from Barnaby W. Zall, a Washington lawyer close to DeLay and his fundraising apparatus, according to IRS documents.

Johnson, a member of the subcommittee responsible for oversight of the tax agency, sparked the IRS's interest by telling IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson in a letter dated Aug. 3, 2004, that he had "uncovered some disturbing information" and received complaints of possible tax violations.

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The IRS sent two auditors last year to comb the 2003 books of Texans for Public Justice and an affiliated foundation that collected donations for the organization. No tax violations were found, according to a letter the IRS sent the group.

But the circumstances behind the effort -- which were uncovered by the group's director and founder, Craig L. McDonald, using the Freedom of Information Act -- prompted him to allege that the audit was an abuse of the IRS's mandate. He said there was no evidence of wrongdoing in the complaints.

The Nixonian tactics used by DeLay to stifle questions about his own improprieties provide yet another example of why these bums must be thrown out of office. It's bad enough that the Republican Party has been thoroughly inept at writing legislation in recent years -- just look at the bloated and ineffective Medicare prescription drug plan -- but the GOP and its members insist on going further by using government to expand their own base of power.

An unnecessary IRS investigation into a real non-profit organization -- particularly when "charities" set up by Republicans like Rick Santorum are actuallymerit investigation -- is simply a continuation of the attempt by the Republican Party to centralize control of Washington in their hands. When the President appoints bumbling cronies like Michael Brown or corrupt Abramoff allies like David Savafian to positions of power, or the federal government pays columnists to flak for Republican policies, or a Republican Governor appoints his donors to serve as judges in a case looking into his ethical problems, or a Congressman trades earmarks for bribes, or a Congressman sicks the IRS on those questioning his actions, a gross breach of public trust occurs.

These people have no right to misuse government so frequently and so egregiously for their own benefit and the benefit of their friends. Government must be a force for good, not a force for individual power and profit. Truly, a prophet is needed today to throw the money-changers out of temple and restore goodness in Washington for this country and its people. Hopefully, he or she will arise sooner rather than later. And before it is too late.

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