Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
DeLay Congressional career exterminated
Time Magazine (scooped on Tucker Carlson's nightime show by MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who got a phone call from the man himself ... ooooh, that mean's they're like, best friends, right...?) is reporting that Tom DeLay will announce Tuesday morning that he's dropping out of his Sugarland, Texas reelection race, and retiring from politics in order to fight for Christian principles, foster care, gum drops and bubblegum trees -- all the thinks he fought for as House Majority whip (without the felonious money laundering, lavish overseas golf junkets and African-American voter-neutering Congressional gerrymandering...) from the civilian barracks.

According to Matthews, DeLay feared that he might lose his seat (he said the polling had been "going down" and he faced perhaps a 50/50 chance of retaining the seat), and that he's dropping out to try and ensure that the seat doesn't go to Nick Lampson, the man he once redistricted out of electoral existence (edging the Dems one seat closer to retaking the majority.) He told Time's Mike Allen that he isn't dropping out due to fear of prosecution (or is that Persecution, Tony Perkins?) -- he's quite serene on that one, apparently -- but rather to protect the Party from what look like doomy-gloomy November election prospects. Says Time:

Rep. Tom DeLay, whose iron hold on the House Republicans melted as a lobbying corruption scandal engulfed the Capitol, told TIME that he will not seek reelection and will leave Congress within months. Taking defiant swipes at "the left" and the press, he said he feels "liberated" and vowed to pursue an aggressive speaking and organizing campaign aimed at promoting foster care, Republican candidates and a closer connection between religion and government.

"I'm going to announce tomorrow that I'm not running for reelection and that I'm going to leave Congress," DeLay, who turns 59 on Saturday, said during a 90-minute interview on Monday. "I'm very much at peace with it." He notified President Bush in the afternoon. DeLay and his wife, Christine, said they had been prepared to fight, but that he decided last Wednesday, after months of prayer and contemplation, to spare his suburban Houston district the mudfest to come. "This had become a referendum on me," he said. "So it's better for me to step aside and let it be a referendum on ideas, Republican values and what's important for this district."

DeLay's fall has been stunningly swift, one of the most brutal and decisive in American history. He had to give up his title of Majority Leader, the No. 2 spot in the House Republican leadership, in September when a Texas grand jury indicted him on charges of trying to evade the state's election law. So he moved out of his palatial suite in the Capitol, where he once brandished a "No Whining" mug during feisty weekly sessions with reporters, and moved across the street to the Cannon House Office Building, home of many freshmen.

The surprise decision was based on the sort of ruthless calculation that had once given him unchallenged dominance of House Republicans and their wealthy friends in Washington's lobbying community: he realized he might lose in this November's election. DeLay got a scare in a Republican primary last month, and a recent poll taken by his campaign gave him a roughly 50-50 shot of winning, in an election season when Republicans need every seat they can hang onto to avoid a Democratic takeover of the House.

"I'm a realist. I've been around awhile. I can evaluate political situations," DeLay told TIME at his kitchen table in Sugar Land, a former sugar plantation in suburban Houston. Bluebonnets are blooming along the highways. "I feel that I could have won the race. I just felt like I didn't want to risk the seat and that I can do more on the outside of the House than I can on the inside right now. I want to continue to fight for the conservative cause. I want to continue to work for a Republican majority."
I think the bluebonnets were a nice touch, don't you?

So there will be no more Tom DeLay for the Dems to kick around -- except when he's touring the country stumping for Jesus at $50,000 a pop in speaking fees (plus the occasional getaway to the Scottish highlands for a quick round ... four!) Just wait till you hear his Congressional conversion story. It's downright Road to Damascus awesome... (hey, do you think Jesus would like golf...?)

DeLay, according to Allen, has also performed a massive document dump, handing "hundreds" of emails over to prosecutors that he claims show nothing more than a casual relationship with Jack Abramoff, the felonious monk who recently took two DeLay staffers down with him.

And lest Chris feel too special, the story was also "leaked" ahead of the Tuesday announcement to CNN's Dana Bash, several members of the Texas Congressional delegation, and to the AP. (So the purpose of the Tuesday announcement would be...?)

Besides, the real scoop here should be credited to CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who on March 6th of this year penned a New Yorker article with the following apocryphal title: DRAWING THE LINE: Will Tom DeLay’s redistricting in Texas cost him his seat? Why yes, Mr. Toobin, it will.

And now, for the best line of the day, again from the talented Mr. Allen:
Asked if he had done anything illegal or immoral in public office, DeLay replied curtly, "No." Asked if he'd done anything immoral, he said with a laugh, "We're all sinners." Asked what he would do differently, he said, "Nothing."
God, I'm gonna miss this guy... [Photo at top that's way better than the actual DeLay mugger courtesy of Buzznet]

Tags: , Politics, Bush, abramoff, GOP, Republicans, Tom Delay, Congress
posted by JReid @ 12:09 AM  
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