Novak on DeLay

One must always take care when reading a Robert Novak column, but he says something here which I think is substantially correct. He’s speaking about the DeLay admonishments, and comparing the situation to those of Jim Wright in 1989 and Newt Gingrich in 1998.

“With DeLay’s wings clipped, he will fall to Earth,” a Republican power broker told me. But that is not the prevailing view inside the House Republican conference, whose members are grateful for his leadership, his cash contributions and his Texas coup that guarantees two more years of a Republican House majority. DeLay, lacking Gingrich’s egotistical exuberance, is willing to stay off television and work outside the spotlight. That makes him a harder target to hit than Gingrich, and in the end a more dangerous enemy for Democrats.

Just before Wright and Gingrich fell, prominent supporters of each told me they had lost confidence. No such winds are blowing against DeLay, only outrage against Pelosi and the normally less partisan Democratic whip, Steny Hoyer. More House wars await in 2005.

This is key. House Republicans support Tom DeLay, to the point where Ethics Committee chair Joel Hefley is being threatened for daring to uphold the rules against him. They support DeLay because he supports them financially and electorally, and because he’s been extremely effective at pushing the GOP agenda through the House. As long as DeLay has this support, Democrats and clean-government groups and Judicial Watch can caterwaul all they want for him to step down. It ain’t gonna happen.

The only way to crack this support, at least until such time as DeLay himself is indicted along with his cronies, will be to change the perception that a close association with DeLay is beneficial for the GOP rank and file. The only way that’s going to happen is for the Democrats to hold at least two or three of the redistricted Texas seats and to achieve or come close to achieving a majority in the House. Knocking off a few of the faux GOP “moderates” who vote with DeLay 90+% of the time would help.

Of course, it goes without saying that unelecting DeLay would also take care of things. I for one am willing to risk a little chaos in the House for that.

If you really want to see DeLay gone, your path is clear: Donate to Richard Morrison, donate to the endangered Texans, and donate to the DCCC. It’s as simple as that.

UPDATE: And here are more ways to support Richard Morrison.

UPDATE: Jesse takes apart the rest of Novak’s column.

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4 Responses to Novak on DeLay

  1. kevin whited says:

    The minute DeLay’s problems can no longer be spun as partisan hackwork, you’ll start to see some of those Republicans turn (also, having done his part in securing what he sees as an enduring Republican majority, DeLay will be less valuable in that regard in the future). But that moment hasn’t been reached yet. If you begin to see a bunch of convictions and scandals with legs, DeLay will be toast and an otherwise uncompetitive Dem could beat him. But, as I’ve said all along, I don’t expect that because I do think DeLay has been careful not to put himself at that kind of risk (tiptoeing to the precipice? Maybe. Jeopardizing his own status as majority leader? I just don’t see him as that careless, but obviously opinions vary).

    Look at it this way, though — Republican direct mail campaigns have raised money for YEARS using the mugs of Ted Kennedy and Hillary and such. DeLay is MUCH more valuable to y’all in office. 🙂

  2. Kuffner on Novak on DeLay


  3. Kuffner on Novak on DeLay


  4. New Levels of Hacktacularity

    I linked earlier to Charles Kuffner writing about Novak’s column today, but I must admit that I did not get around to reading the column in full until just now. It makes me think too. Normally, I’m pretty familiar with…

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