Sunday, August 06, 2006

Why Tom Won’t Run

In an Opinion/Analysis piece filed this weekend at FortBendNow, Bob Dunn ponders the seemingly risky and foolhardy run at the Supreme Court on the part of the Republican Party of Texas. Five judges have already found for the TDP, time is short and funds need to be raised to counter the Lampson war chest, and shorter if you have to wait until October for the Supremes to hear the case. So Dunn asks:
“what does the Grand Old Party hope to achieve by making this move?”

Well, he says, it comes down to this.

Benkiser and the RPT are doubting that Tom DeLay will run. They think he’s going to withdraw no matter what. So what do you do? Hold out for an 11th hour finding by the Supreme Court that
“the GOP will suffer “irreparable harm” if it isn’t allowed to field a replacement candidate for DeLay”.
Why doesn’t that surprise me? Here Tom and his cronies conspire to game the system, get caught, and then come back and say that they simply cannot be “punished” for committing this fraud because the punishment will not be upon them but upon the voters who won’t have a candidate to vote for in November.

Where was their concern for the voters when Tom decided to quit and choose his successor?

It makes you wonder why it isn’t more obvious to people to realize why our children think that there should be no consequences for poor behavior. They have such rich and powerful role models.

But getting back to the main subject, from the title, why is it so obvious to Benkiser et al. that Tom is going to withdraw, leaving them with no one on the ballot?

Well really, there are several reasons, some of them would, individually, be reason enough for Tom to quit. Taking most of these reasons together, it positively screams out that he is going to withdraw.

First, let’s take the most innocuous reason: he’s been there, done that and can’t go back. Rick Casey at The Chron wrote way back in April that DeLay will quit for the same reason Newt Gingrich quit.
“Already nervous about President Bush's poll numbers, the last thing Republicans would want to do is return to leadership a man who has a hard time holding onto a district that he himself drew.”
“Even if he held on to his seat in November, he wouldn't have the office of majority leader or the infrastructure of DeLay Inc. He has decided that if he can't be at the center of the action in the House, he can have more influence on the outside.”
It’s sort of like a star UT quarterback being suspended for taking steroids, but being allowed back on the team if he remains on the 3rd string. No thanks.

Next let’s look at the false reason, the one I call the "self-serving reason". Tom DeLay, by virtue of the fact that he has been in the news with his wheelings and dealings under scrutiny by the House ethics panel and federal prosecutors, decided to take himself out of the race to help his fellow Republicans. Nationwide, Democrats were planning hours and hours of television ads linking their local candidate to DeLay. Now with him out of the way the ads won’t have play.

That one just doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t matter if Tom is running or living in a cabin in Idaho this fall, his name and photograph WILL be tied to any other Republican who got in on his crimes and misdemeanors. First to go will be the candidates who still have Tom’s ARMPAC or TRMPAC money in their campaign funds.

Way back when, I wrote a posting where I suspected that having the indictments looming over his head was not the real reason that he quit. I still think so. And I am now completely convinced that the ongoing Abramoff investigations are a very good reason why he doesn’t want to run. In a July 17th article posted in The Washington Times, by Christina Bellantoni, it seems obvious that he will not seek to reclaim his vacant seat because in doing so, the House Ethics Panel would again take up their investigation of his dealings with Abramoff and his crew. This based on this quote:
” The panel … said it would have investigated former Majority Leader Tom DeLay had the Texas Republican not resigned his congressional seat last month.”
Another reason? Tom’s Money. This from a July 18th article in “TheRawStory” although you can find it anywhere you look:
“A report in today's Roll Call indicated that the former Texas Congressman and House Republican Majority Leader has spent $1.7 million on legal fees, leaving him with only $641,000 in his campaign reserves.”
That being the case, and the fact that he still has his money laundering case ahead of him, Tom simply doesn’t have the funds to mount a campaign AND defend himself against the onslaught of Ronnie Earl.

And I leave the best for last (or worst, depending on your point of view). As seen in a posting in Juanita’s, citing the very same “Roll Call” article, Tom can’t run because if he runs and wins he would be “restricted to $5,000 donations to his legal defense fund”. As a private citizen he can accept any amount of financial help that his friend Bob Perry would want to give him, and not have to report it to anyone – well, maybe the IRS, but that’s only if you don’t game the system.

So still Tom DeLay continues the façade. It’s obvious to anyone who cares to look that he is planning to withdraw. But by not withdrawing, he keeps Tina and others in his party pounding on the Supreme Court’s front door in the hopes that their disingenuous argument for the rights of “disenfranchised Republican voters” will find a sympathetic ear.

My suggestion is to try this sympathetic ear on the right, Tina. She looks like she will give your lawyers' arguments her full attention and a guaranteed successful outcome. But then, she's an anime drawing.

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