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April 5, 2006

That explains it

Tom DeLay's decision to resign now, after his triumphant primary victory but before the November election, surely wasn't for the good of his party, or his constituents. He surely wouldn't shy away from an ugly campaign if he thought he could win; and, despite his smiling efforts to put resigning in disgrace right up there with his wedding day and learning to drive, this surely isn't the way he planned to end his career all along.

Speaking of the myth of conservative martyrdom (wasn't I?), it's as satisfying as it is disgusting as it is inevitable to finally see a bully simper and weep, but, seriously, does anyone believe that "the left," which isn't organized enough to field a softball team, could possibly bring down DeLay's powerful machine if it wasn't utterly corrupt? He and his party have spent over a decade gobbling steroids while starving out the Democrats. He's not going down because the Mighty Liberal Conspiracy finally got its boxing gloves on the poor, persecuted Bug Man. He's going down because 1998 was a long time ago and, like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, he's rotten from the inside out. (Perhaps, however, like Barry Bonds, he's still in denial.)

It's likely, or at least reasonable to assume, that DeLay knows the Abramoff investigation will eventually produce charges against him, despite his crisp assertions to the contrary, given that his close aid Tony Rudy and former aid Michael Scanlon have already pled guilty.

That's surely something to hope for, and I do. But Tom DeLay is already in plenty of trouble in Texas, and this Washington Post story notes another good reason for him to quit now, and it's the oldest reason there is: Lawyers cost money.

DeLay has assembled a substantial legal team to fight back, and he has a defense fund--financed largely by corporations with business before Congress--that contained more than $600,000 at the end of last year, based on the cumulative record of its receipts and contributions. But contributions to the fund dropped from $318,000 to $181,500 between the third and fourth quarters of 2005.

DeLay also is entitled under federal election rules to convert any or all of the remaining funds from his reelection campaign to his legal expenses, whether or not he resigns, is indicted, or loses the election. Election lawyers say one advantage of bowing out of the election now is that the campaign cash can be converted to pay legal bills immediately, instead of being drained in the course of a bid to stay in office.

There now--that smells like team spirit. Thus does the mighty Hammer, feared and respected from pundit to president for pounding his Republican fellows into a weapon of mass corruption on the anvil of party discipline, abandon his friends and his principles to skulk off and cover his own sorry ass.

And p.s., how the hell is it that politicians can instantly convert campaign donations to a legal-defense fund?!

The last lawmaker to gain the FEC's formal approval for such a transfer was Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.), who resigned last November after pleading guilty to evading taxes and accepting bribes.

A little girl is losing faith in democracy!

Posted by pk at 9:43 AM