If I Had A Hammer

The Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tom Delay (R-TX) announced today he will return to his home state to face charges of conspiracy to violate election finance laws, which he promptly denounced as baseless.

Mr. Delay, who has withstood — by his own admission — a decade’s worth of allegations of corruption and malfeasance, was twice rebuked by the House Ethics Committee, yet vowed to disprove conspiracy charges brought by a Travis County, Texas Grand Jury investigating abuses of power and allegations of undue influence against the man known to Congress as “The Hammer.”

Mr. Delay, of course, sports an impressive resume of official corruption, and concerned citizens have long gunned for his ouster — in a sort of kill-it-by-removing-the-head approach to executive/legislative terrorism.

He will no doubt get mileage out of the single count of conspiracy District Attorney Ronnie Earle is to prosecute against him, and will demand to know why — if that’s all that can be dredged up against him — he’s having to explain himself to anyone.

The prosecution of Tom Delay is a watershed moment in American history.

The stink of excess is upon the ruling cabal, and Mr. Delay, through his irredactable connection to the soon-to-be-proved murder conspirator Jack Abramoff, is just the public figure to flush first in our attempt to regain a semblance of fairness and balance in this monstrosity of a nation we hope to preserve.


  1. Paul Burke - September 29, 2005 @ 9:51 am

    Tom – cried it’s a witch hunt – fantastic – what goes around comes around buddy!

    Oh and if you think the middle class isn’t going to get tired of tax breaks for the uber rich, and sweetheart deals for insiders, the plundering of the environment and the horrible impact on our overall health and well being, and the arrogance and swagger that as an elected official you are somehow above the law, redistricting along highway routes, protecting pesticide companies from litigation brought onto them by their unsafe, cancer causing products that are sprayed on our food, obscene pork,pork,pork give-a-ways in the face of historic deficits – if you don’t think the wronged are going to fight back anyway they can you risk your own demise and those of your kind.


  2. Michael Herdegen - September 29, 2005 @ 4:47 pm

    Tom DeLay is a sleazebag, quid pro quo politician who is undoubtably guilty of accepting illegal gifts from lobbyists, and redirecting illegal campaign contributions to himself and others in order to “launder” them, and of trying to cover it all up.

    However, I predict that “Hot Tub Tom”, as he was known while serving in the Texas House of Representatives, will NOT be convicted of this count of conspiracy, although hopefully he will step down, or be removed from office, due to future criminal charges.

    As for Jack Abramoff, I’m surprised that he’s still walking around.
    If he had taken ME for TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars, as he did to SEVERAL Indian tribes, he’d be in an unmarked grave right now.

  3. Michael Herdegen - September 29, 2005 @ 5:07 pm

    [I]f you think the middle class isn’t going to get tired of tax breaks for the uber rich, and […] obscene pork,pork,pork give-a-ways in the face of historic deficits…

    The middle class doesn’t significantly mind tax breaks for anyone else, rich or poor, as long as THEY get a slice of that pie – which they have in spades under Bush, at least as regards their Federal taxes.

    It is very rare for more than a small fraction of the general public to get worked up over pork, OR deficits, which is why both are longstanding and continuing Congressional traditions, although deficits have been acceptable for a shorter time than has pork.

    BTW, the current Federal budget deficit is only the largest of the past twenty years as a percentage of GNP, so it’s not that “historic”, and if one subtracts the cost of the two current wars and relief efforts for Katrina, all temporary expenditures, the “core” or structural deficit is at Clintonesque levels.
    However, since the Boomers are going to be retiring en masse soon, we should get used to large and unrelenting deficits until 2040 or so.

  4. Bubbles - September 30, 2005 @ 1:28 am

    Worthy of reposting.

    To the Editor:

    As I read the news these days, I find myself thinking back to the Contract With America, the Republicans’ agenda of 1994. It emphasized smaller government, fiscal responsibility, national security and personal responsibility.

    We now have a Republican majority, but we also have a huge debt, huge deficits, a bloated bureaucracy and an ineffective emergency response system. We also have an almost daily parade of Republican lawmakers, appointees and associates denying fault and generally passing the buck.

    Finally, we now have Tom DeLay, the House majority leader and one of the architects of the Contract With America, being indicted. I think that we can safely say the contract has been breached.

    Shannon Thomas
    Manhattan Beach, Calif.
    Sept. 29, 2005

  5. lonbud - September 30, 2005 @ 7:56 am

    How does a guy like Michael, who is happy to play the good soldier defending the Bush administration’s plan to remake the Middle East because it’s the least onerous option (I’m paraphrasing, and one could argue with the conclusion as well, but we’ll accept it for the limited purpose of discussing Mr. Delay), so readily agree that the former house leader and one of his closest financiers are sleazebags and common thieves — as if their chumminess with Mr. Bush and alignment with much of his agenda, both domestic and foreign, are of no consequence whatsoever?

    Watch now as Republicans great and small scurry quickly and far away from Mr. Delay’s political corpse, hoping the public will fail to connect the degree to which they previously aligned their goals and fortunes with those of “Hot Tub Tom.”

    The smart money says Karl Rove is next, and as my friend Andy put it, for the trifecta — Dr. Frist.

    How then will the public look upon their wartime President? What then of his legacy?

  6. Michael Herdegen - September 30, 2005 @ 10:13 am

    Clinton was the one who worried about his legacy.

    Bush, rightly or wrongly, is certain of how he’ll be remembered.

    You fail to make a distinction between people who cooperate, and friends.
    Bush is an elected Republican in charge of the Executive Branch, DeLay an elected Republican in charge of one Chamber of the Legislative Branch.

    While you might prefer that they adopt the Carter model and infight ceaselessly, the fact that they worked together doesn’t mean that they spent late nights chortling over their joint and successful evasions of campaign finance laws, that they were buddies, or that they even liked each other.

    Your pronunciation of DeLay’s political death is VASTLY premature, and IMO likely to be quite wrong.

  7. lonbud - September 30, 2005 @ 1:33 pm

    No person in such a position doesn’t have one eye on his/her legacy, especially as (s)he comes toward the denoument of his/her carreer.

    Clinton, at least, made a few efforts to ensure that, despite all the craven political compromises he made during his tenure, will ensure history can find something good to say about the man’s exercise of his office. I’m thinking here, especially about the ways in which he tried to secure our wilderness areas and protect the environment, but there are others.

    Notwithstanding what he may or may not be certain of, Mr. Bush will be remembered as ONE of, if not THE MOST divisive, destructive, and incompetent presidents ever.

  8. Bubbles - September 30, 2005 @ 10:12 pm

    It seems pretty obvious to me that someone dropped the dime on ‘Hot Tub Tom’. That’s the thing about these brave Republicans and their corporate greed-head cohorts. When it comes to who’s going to be wearing the pastel jump suits it a whole new ball game.

  9. Michael Herdegen - September 30, 2005 @ 10:53 pm

    Here’s the conclusion to the discussion that we had awhile back, concerning Army recruiting:

    “WASHINGTON (Sept. 30) – The Army closed the books Friday on one of the leanest recruiting years since it became an all-volunteer service, missing its enlistment target by the widest margin since 1979.

    The Army has not published official figures yet, but it apparently finished the 12-month counting period with about 73,000 recruits. Its goal was 80,000. A gap of 7,000 enlistees would be the largest – in absolute number as well as in percentage terms – since 1979.

    The active-duty Army had not missed its target since 1999, when it was 6,290 recruits short; in 1998 it fell short by 801, and in 1995 it was off by 33. Prior to that the last shortfall was in 1979 when the Army missed by 17,054 during a period when the Army was much bigger and its recruiting goals were double today’s.”

    So, apparently they met 91% of their recruiting goal.

  10. lonbud - September 30, 2005 @ 11:11 pm

    Michael, for a person of such obvious intelligence and analytical facility, your infatuation with statistics astounds me.

  11. Michael Herdegen - October 1, 2005 @ 12:25 pm

    Pretend that someone else said this, and listen closely:

    Michael, for a person of such obvious analytical facility, your infatuation with statistics astounds me.

    Funny, right ?

  12. Bubbles - October 1, 2005 @ 10:49 pm

    Ya gottta give’m that one ld.

  13. Bubbles - October 1, 2005 @ 11:24 pm

    A must read this week.

  14. lonbud - October 2, 2005 @ 9:45 am

    On the surface of things it would seem incongruous for me, on the one hand, to compliment Michael’s analytical abilities, and on the other to deride his reliance on statistics to “prove” his points.

    And maybe it’s just a pet peeve of mine, but I’m of the opinion that statistics can be marshalled in just about any situation to “prove” just about any proposition one would care to make.

    Statistics alone are highly suspect indicia of “proof” absent clear understanding of the methodology under which they are compiled and absent corresponding reconciliation with objective, observable reality. For instance:

    Out of a potential 4 million people living in the direct path of Hurricane Katrina, more than 98% were able to evacuate to safe havens before the storm struck. In the wake of one of the strongest storms to strike the US mainland in the past 50 years, total deaths were fewer than resulted from the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Out of the 50,000 or so citizens of New Orleans who were stranded by the storm, virtually 100% were evacuated to shelters or safe havens within a week and less than 1% of them died.

    So why all the hoo-ha about FEMA, and why did Michael Brown have to lose his job?

  15. lonbud - October 3, 2005 @ 9:22 pm

    I’m feeling more confident about my tolling the Hammer’s political death knell with each passing day: Read all about it.

  16. Tam O’Tellico - October 8, 2005 @ 12:27 pm

    Let us shed not a tear for Hot Tub Tom, even if he does jail time which is doubtful by the time all the legal shenanigans are over (see OJ Simpson), Delay will go to work for some high-priced lobbying outfit in DC and do what he has been doing all along — peddling influence. I mean think about it for a minute, if you had as much dirt on people in Washington as TD does, would you be worried about your future? Call it the LBJ or J. Edgar Hoover Effect.

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