Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ding, Dong, DeLay is Dead; Oops, Maybe I spoke too soon

Well not dead exactly, more like retired. And yet I’m not even sure if that’s true, as it looks like Tom Delay may already have found a life for himself as a lobbyist. But he is no longer a member of the house, and that’s a great start (in my humble opinion)! Wait, no, he actually only announced his intention to leave the house, and didn’t even specify a date, just said it would depend upon the congressional calendar. Damn, this guy just won’t go away!!!

Tom DeLay has been hamstrung by allegations of political corruption stemming from the Jack Abramoff incident, and as more and more facts are revealed, there certainly appears no question that the ties between Abramoff and DeLay were strong. Only time will tell the level of criminal culpability that must be shouldered by DeLay, but even the staunchest Republicans are saying that Delay’s hands are not entirely clean in this case. Whether or not he is deemed to have performed illegal actions, certainly a many of his religious convictions will recognize he has a confession or two to make.

He’s not the first, of course, to get his hand caught in the cookie jar, and by no means is he the worst. But look back over the resignation speeches of the leaders who have fallen to similar circumstances, and you see basic similarities which are not found in this speech: an immediate or definite departure date from office, an apology for any wrong doings, a list of accomplishments and why we still can feel positive about the work of the politician, a message of healing and an appeal for unity to move the country past the incident, and a confirmation of the honor of the position. DeLay’s speech only contains the list of accomplishments, and forgets the rest, a true testament to DeLay’s legacy.

Let’s compare Tom DeLay’s “resignation” speech with that of Richard Millhouse Nixon after Watergate.

Nixon begins by describing the circumstances that led up to his resignation. He notes that throughout his life, and during the Watergate period, he has “always tried to do what was best for the Nation”. “The interest of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations.” “Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.” “I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my Judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interest of the Nation.” These are of course snippets with fuller description of the deteriorating power base in between, but these are the most relevant lines.

DeLay does not lead with his resignation, but instead buries it after the list of accomplishments nearly 3 pages long. There, he states his intentions and time tables:

Because I care so deeply about this district and the people in it, I refuse to allow liberal Democrats an opportunity to steal this seat with a negative, personal campaign.

The voters of the 22nd District of Texas deserve a campaign about the vital national issues that they care most about and that affect their lives every day, and not a campaign focused solely as a referendum on me.

So today, I am announcing my intention to resign my seat in the House. I will make that resignation effective sometime before mid-June, but largely dependent on the congressional calendar. I plan to begin focusing on the next phase of my life as a private citizen.

With regards to Jack Abramoff, DeLay categorically denies the incident, and instead tries to push a larger wedge between the republic and democratic parties.

I have no fear whatsoever about any investigation into me or my personal or professional activities. As one of my colleagues in the House leadership astutely observed a while back, the wheels of justice turn much more slowly than the wheels of allegation. I will be quite content to be judged when the passage of time has provided both all of the facts and a greater sense of perspective than is possible for most today. As difficult as this decision has been for me, it's not going to be a great day for liberal Democrats, either.

So much for the apology for any wrong doings. Nixon goes on to look after the good of the nation, and to call for the beginning of the healing process.

In passing this office to the Vice President, I also do so with the profound sense of the weight of responsibility that will fall on his shoulders tomorrow and, therefore, of the understanding, the patience, the cooperation he will need from all Americans.

As he assumes that responsibility, he will deserve the help and the support of all of us. As we look to the future, the first essential is to begin healing the wounds of this Nation, to put the bitterness and divisions of the recent past behind us, and to rediscover those shared ideals that lie at the heart of our strength and unity as a great and as a free people.

By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.

DeLay’s comments are far less about healing and far more about derision and destruction:

Having served under Republican and Democrat control in the House, I know first hand how important it is for Republicans to maintain their national majority. A Democrat Congress in 2007 would, without doubt or remorse, raise hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes, summarily cut and run from the war on terror, and immediately initiate an unconstitutional impeachment of President Bush.

However certain such antics might make a Republican resurgence in 2008, the times are too grave to waste even two years in the life of this nation...and allow even one more vote for their agenda of pessimism and failure.

Add in the line “We still need to redesign government” and his list of objectives, and you can’t help but wonder if the guy understands that he has an obligation to help rebuild what he has helped destroy: the average citizen’s trust in the government.

Finally, look at the reverence Nixon shows to the office:

When I first took the oath of office as President 51/2 years ago, I made this sacred commitment, to "consecrate my office, my energies, and all the wisdom I can summon to the cause of peace among nations."

I have done my very best in all the days since to be true to that pledge. As a result of these efforts, I am confident that the world is a safer place today, not only for the people of America but for the people of all nations, and that all of our children have a better chance than before of living in peace rather than dying in war.

This, more than anything, is what I hoped to achieve when I sought the Presidency. This, more than anything, is what I hope will be my legacy to you, to our country, as I leave the Presidency.

To have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every American. In leaving it, I do so with this prayer: May God's grace be with you in all the days ahead.

And compare to DeLay:

I have no regrets today, and no doubts.

I am proud of the past. I am at peace with the present.

And I am excited about the future, which holds, as always, America's brightest days... and mine, too.

Thank you, and may God bless you all. He has certainly blessed me.

DeLay is absorbed in himself and partisn politics, but not in the good of the country. This speech shows, in my opinion, that the man has no class. Sorry, Tom, but I’ll be glad when your voice is muted from the political scene.

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Posted by Scottage at 6:20 PM / | |