Thursday, September 29, 2005

Morning copy 9.29.2005

Most of today's post will be a follow-up to the DeLay indictment.

Ronnie and Tom

Cragg Hines in the Houston Chronicle:

"Partisan fanatic" was about as light as DeLay's commentary got in trashing Democrat Earle.

Of course, there is some irony in DeLay hurling that phrase at anyone, particularly anyone in Austin. In the recent redistricting unpleasantness, DeLay personally and vindictively, for partisan advantage, oversaw the dismemberment of Travis County into four U.S. House seats, instead of being the focus of one district as it historically had been.

The Washington Post editorial, while waiting for the evidence, says that Republicans ought to ask if DeLay is the leader they want, even if innocent:

In his drive to consolidate Republican power, Mr. DeLay has consistently pushed, and at times stepped over, ethical boundaries.

He is, as we said last year, an ethical recidivist -- unabashed about using his legislative and political power to reward supporters and punish opponents, and brazen in how he links campaign contributions and political actions. Among the DeLay activities that have drawn disapproval from the House ethics committee: threatening a trade association for daring to hire a Democrat; enlisting federal aviation officials to hunt for Democratic state legislators trying to foil his Texas redistricting plan; and holding a golf fundraiser for energy companies just as the House was to consider energy legislation.

Robin Toner's news analysis in the New York Times has this from William Kristol:

"Even though DeLay has nothing to do with Frist, and Frist has nothing to do with Abramoff, how does it look? Not good," said William Kristol, a key conservative strategist and editor of The Weekly Standard.

Not too different from Hines' remark that turnabout is fair politics, we see this from the New York Times' editorial:

He is also loudly denouncing the prosecution as baldly political. But it might be easier to take that seriously if the Republican leadership in Congress had not staged such a baldly political response.

The USA Today editorial makes the 1994 link:

When Republicans won control of Congress in 1994, a key to their success was their pledge to end the arrogance, ethical lapses and scandals that had become a hallmark of the longtime Democratic majority.

Wednesday's indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is just the latest reminder that too many members of Washington's GOP establishment seem to have forgotten how they got there.

An attempt to pick a short-term successor that would not replace DeLay too well was foiled, Washington Post:

What he and Hastert wanted was a timeserver, someone to hold the job but with no ambitions to stay in it. And they had someone in mind. This week, an aide to the speaker approached Rep. David Dreier about his role in a post-DeLay caucus. Dreier, a congenial Californian who has loyally served the GOP leadership as Rules Committee chairman, expressed interest in helping Hastert.

There was one big problem: When DeLay's indictment was unsealed yesterday, conservatives in the GOP caucus immediately erupted in anger over rumors that the selection of Dreier, whom they regard as too moderate, was being presented as a fait accompli.

Dan Balz's news analysis in the WaPo:

"I think that the Democrats are unable to exploit issues like energy, taxes and Iraq because they have nothing to say," said Weber, who remains an important GOP strategist. "The problem with the issue of corruption is the opposition party doesn't have to have anything to say. All you've got to be is the other party, so it worries me."

Interesting "expert" opinion in the Houston Chronicle:

Most legal experts looking at the conspiracy indictment of U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay said Wednesday that either an insider has turned against DeLay or the prosecutor may have gone too far.

"I can't imagine indicting a majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives without having a smoking gun, and that means someone who flipped on DeLay," said Buck Wood, an Austin lawyer who filed a related civil lawsuit on behalf of Democratic congressional candidates.

The Los Angeles Times portrays Ronnie Earle as taking shots at both sides of the aisle.

Ronnie Earle's reaction to DeLay's response that the DA was a fanatic and a zealot, New York Times:

"Mostly, I haven't had any lunch," said Mr. Earle, the Travis County prosecutor, speaking from his office in Austin. "I ate an energy bar. It helped a little. That stopped me from gnawing on people's heads."

In other news...

The last time this reporter reported that Bush was close to a Supreme Court nominee it happened that night, New York Times' ELISABETH BUMILLER:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 - President Bush is close to naming a successor to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and could announce his choice this week, Republicans close to the White House said Wednesday.

Jim Hoagland calls for a Clark Clifford to sit down with the president and tell him what is actually happening in the world:

A Clifford-like message to Bush should include suggestions for a one-time federal tax surcharge, of perhaps 1 percent, to help a carefully controlled rebuilding effort after Katrina and Rita; a bold stripping out of the additional layers of bureaucracy added in post-Sept. 11 panic to the Department of Homeland Security and the national intelligence community; and an ironclad commitment to rid the administration of cronies and contracting shortcuts that destroy confidence in government.

Perhaps when Karen Hughes returns from this stupid, pathetic "if we listen they might like us" tour she'll have a different perspective on Iraq. New York Times:

It was the second day in a row that Ms. Hughes found herself at odds with groups of women on her "public diplomacy" tour, aimed at improving the American image in the Middle East. On Tuesday, she told Saudi Arabian women she would support efforts to raise their status but was taken aback when some of them responded that Americans misunderstand their embrace of traditions.

An amazing and tragic Katrina diaspora graphic in the (you guessed it) USA Today.

The military resists the idea of using the military in disaster response, Christian Science Monitor:

It is a reluctance born of a martial ethos - the insistence that the military exists to fight the nation's wars, not to act as police. The fact that America remains at war in Iraq and Afghanistan has only deepened those reservations. So far, the Department of Defense has not taken a public stance on the president's idea, yet among many in the military community, there is concern that any major revision of the military's homeland mission could be both unnecessary and counterproductive.

"The military needs to focus on its core competencies - fighting wars," says Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va. "If we load the military with every mission that other cabinet agencies don't do well, then it won't be able to do its job well."


Blogger Bassizzzt said...

This Tom DeLay thing is starting to sound nearly as bad as Clinton and Lewinsky!

Where'd that damn dress go to, anyway?

9:20 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

I think this is a very big deal for DeLay. I wonder what Earle has...

9:43 AM  

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