Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Delay's indictment might only be the beginning...

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(UPDATE) 09/29/05: In all of the interviews that Tom Delay gave last night why did nobody ask him this question: Did you at any time, specifically discuss, plan, or co-ordinate in emails, phone conversations, or anything else... the process of the $190,000 contribution to TRMPAC being sent to the national party to be then turned around to Texas state campaigns? Isn't this obviously the basis for the conspiracy charge... and wouldn't finding out if he can publically deny any evidence that Ronnie Pearle might have to support this indictment... be the most important question to ask? But, instead Delay gets to claim the activity is not really a crime (which it is) and then ambiguously state that in these specific instances he wasn't even aware it was taking place until after the fact (which was subjected to absolutely no serious journalistic scrutiny).

09/28/05: You have to admire the Republican attack machine, even when it's on the defensive. Tom Delay was indicted twelve hours ago and already Texas Prosecutor, Ronnie Earle, has been publically reduced to a mean spirited, narcisistic political hack, puppeted by the DNC. To substantiate this smear Delay has cited a Democratic fundraiser Earle spoke at openly discussing the case with the crowd (which would indeed seem highly inappropriate)... plus Earle's conduct in a previous indictment against a Republican Senator, where, after a year of "mudslinging," he eventually refused to try the case in court, deciding instead to divulge all of the evidence to the local media in his hotel room.

And yet, I don't think that there is any question Delay was heavily involved with the "laundering" of corporate donations. Nor that he helped to send corporate money to the Republican Party in Washington, so it could then be returned to state legislative candidates. I don't think that anybody would dispute that this practise, while widely employed by both Democrats and Republicans, is an illegal practise in the state of Texas. Consequently, isn't the real pertinent issue not whether this charge is politcally motivated... as convenient as that might be for Delay and the FNC to focus on... but on exactly what grounds can it be proved that Delay conspired to facilitate this crime? I mean, from what I could discern from his interview on Brit Hume Delay's defense in court is going to be nothing more than "the Prosecutor's a Democrat", and "everybody else does it your honor."

From the Religious Freedom Coalition, Delay's opponents have an impressive list of alleged grievances:

Promised a role in drafting legislation to a corporate donor
Tried to coerce a Congressman for a vote on Medicare
Allegedly used corporate money given to his PAC to finance Texas campaigns in violation of state law
Used Homeland Security resources in a dispute with Democrats in Texas
Diverted funds from a children's charity for lavish celebrations at the Republican convention
Threatened retaliation against interest groups that don't support Republicans
Stacked the House Ethics committee with representatives who have contributed to his legal defense fund
Accepted trips from corporations and later helped kill legislation they opposed
Accepted trips from the lobbyist for a foreign government in violation of House rules
Crippled the effectiveness of the House Ethics Committee by purging members who had rebuked him
Pushed for a rules change for the House Ethics process that paralyzed the panel
Sought a rule change that would have no longer "required leaders to step aside temporarily if indicted"
Paid family members more than $500,000 out of campaign contributions

The truth is this indictment couldn't have come at a worse time for the President...

Seven days ago it emerged that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist sold all of his stock in his family's hospital corporation... two weeks before the price fell 15 percent after it had issued a disappointing earnings report. From the WP: On June 13, Frist instructed the trustee managing the assets to sell his HCA shares and those of his wife and children. Both the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are now looking into the sales, + the accusations of insider trading.

And next month Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's report on his investigation into how Valerie Plame's undercover CIA identity was exposed will be published. Karl Rove has been heavily implicated, alongside other White House political aides, and George Bush is on record as saying, "If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is...and if the person has violated the law, that person will be taken care of."

As implausible as it sounds, it's now entirely possible that the final months of 2005 will see indictments handed down against the House Majority Leader, the Senate Majority Leader, and also members of the Executive branch. Although, I think that this is probably just wishful thinking on my part... hee hee :). Regardless of any eventuality, difficult times are most certainly ahead for the President and the Republican Party.

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OTTMANN said...

Don't you "feel" you're putting the cart before the ass(es)?

The joker who's prosecuting this is going to be the author of the dems downfall. Better check it out... Indictment DeLay's Dems Downfall

How many times do democrats jump the gun and end up shooting themselves? This is just the one more time, but it may be their biggest blunder ever!

Graham said...

From a factual perspective you may be right in so far as Delay will be found not guilty, or this may not go to trial... but from a political perspective you are wrong. I really try to be objective, but there is no basis upon which this is not politically bad for the Administration, and Republican's.

This is essentially a non-story. It will be dead in a week. Tom Delay is just not at the forefront of the public's consciousness right now. But, all that will be heard, and reported, nationally, is that the House Majority Leader has been indicted. The facts of the case are not in his favor.

Regardless of anything that happens this 100% bad news for Republicans IMO.

Graham said...

My potential prediction however is presumptuous, fun, and hugely speculative, and I admit that in my post. The investigation into Frist, and the Plame case will be causing trepidation though. If Indictments came out of both of them, Democrats would have an incredible chance of re-taking the House and Senate in 2006.

Brad said...

First off, Ottmann's what's called a "troll", never interested in debating anything because he doesn't have anything to say. He just spouts off randomly and leaves. You'll notice he has his profile hidden so no one can visit his site.

Secondly, why is it that "playing politics" is a bad thing if the Democrats do it, but if Republicans do it, it's just the way the game is played? It seems far too few people can actually see this amazing double standard.

Graham said...

Hey Brad,

I don't mind trolls if they make coherent points like Ottman and don't resort to personal attacks. I just don't see how people can't recognize that this situation is part of a really... really .... bad confluence of events for the Administration and the Republican Party ahead of 2006.

But, as always this takes me back to my point that Democrats really have to be well placed to take advantage of this, just because a political party does badly, does not always mean that its opponents do well. For now, I think Dems are best served by keeping their mouths shut, lol.

Thank you very much for the comment, Brad :).

James said...

DeLay will walk, no doubt, but the Liberal won this one in the fact that they KNOW that GOP rules state that indictments in criminal cases force the official to step down. Removal from his position, even if temporary, makes DeLay's political career, kaput.

Graham said...

I think I disagree with you on both counts. I don't think it's absolutely sure that Delay will walk, James. This re-routing of money IS a crime, and I think it's very telling that Delay comes out and defends himself by saying it is no big deal, and everyone else does it.

What's really interesting is that in spite of this he still asserts the defense that he knew nothing of the specifics involving the funds going up to Washington, or back to the state. A lot of what he says doesn't really make sense.

Considering his attitude I don't think it will take much to demonstrate he conspired to commit this crime.

However, you also have to say Delay is immensley resilient. I thought his self-defense, ably assisted by FNC, was very impressive. I would hope that if really did not conspire to do this, or that it cannot be proved, then his career will continue. In any event I don't think he could have entertained any serious aspirations of going any further than he already was in politics - a cabinet post was the best he was going to get.

Thanks for the comment :).

Dirty Kafir said...

Earle has been known in Texas as nothing more than a partisan hack for years. This was not Republican branding, but even Texas Democrats consider Earle to be so.

Graham said...

I didn't say it was, DK. I acknowledge that discussing this case at a Democratic fundraiser, which Earle did, is very dodgy indeed. However, it doesn't change the fact that if Earle can prove that Delay conspired to raise money from corporations, then send it to the RNC in Washington for the explicit purposes of receiving the money back to use in state politics then he is screwed. That's the essense here regardless, and nothing else really matters aside from the accusation, and evidence Earle has to prove it.

Thanks for your comment :).

Chris said...

Politically speaking, Ottman is close to being correct. The Dems have to distance themselves, or at least quit depending on indictments and fraud as the basis to which they will gain power. Howard Dean seems to have built the entire Democratic caucus around the very fact that the Repubs cannot be trusted because they are criminals. It's a very bad move by Dean. Mainly because, if like Ottmann and others point out, DeLay and other indicted Repubs do walk, then the Dems look like fanatics with no direction.

Let the indicted Republicans do the talking. Let them defend themselves. This should be no business of the entire Democratic party, because it will fail.

If we all remember right, attacking and indicting Clinton got the Repubs no where. And Gore running away from Clinton got him no where too.

The best thing to do is to offer solutions to solving this paramount mess of a situation we are in because of Bush's failed policies, and incompetent government. Promising to send elected officials to jail is sad, not to mention wrong.

Thanks for the kind words on my site Graham. Though I believe that you are much more articulate than I. Must be the Brit in ya :)

Graham said...

Hey there my political soulmate, lol...

There's two things obviously in play for the Dems to advance. 1) The Republican's need to lose their way and 2) the Dems need to regain a voice that resonates with the majority of Americans.

I agree with you that Democrats won't rediscover their place in the hearts and minds of most people as a consequence of Republican's being indicted and accused of fraud. Rather, they have to begin the process of presenting themselves as being primarily concerned with the problems that most people face - the economy, healthcare costs, the financial future of the nation, foreign policy... that's how you set the agenda, by speaking from your heart with conviction and with intelligent solutions above and beyond the typically narrow partisanship that we are all used to... that's what Clinton did in 1992.

But, while Democrats need to focus upon themselves, and swiftly so ahead of 2006, Republican peril certainly assists their potential chances. Bush's approval rating being so low is even more significant when you consider the fact that he has a 30% slice of the population who are his unwavering base and will support him regardless. + Investigations into Frist and an indictment against Delay. An investigation into the White House political staff regarding Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame. The President's recent lack of leadership, and the continuing turmoil from Iraq's reconstruction. It's important to judge these things not in terms of their individual circumstances, but more so from a political perspective, in terms of the case they can collectively present to the American people that this country needs to be ready to confront change again.

And I do believe that is important. It's at that stage Dems have to be ready to offer a vision of change that really has substance and relevance to most people.

Thanks for your comment MJ :).

Chris said...

Agreed. And I forgot to add that your question on the main post is right on target.

If I'm correct, I don't think the prosecution has to prove that the money actually did go to the campaigns, but that DeLay intended and had motive for such to happen. Meaning that DeLay did organize/plan for the $190,000 to eventually end up in Texas campaigns. Which I will add will be very hard to prove. So your question is the beginning and maybe the end. Very good.

Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

I can’t say I won’t enjoy seeing the political house tumble down but I do believe as mj states that dems have to stop depending on someone else to blunder.
Howard Dean is an embarrassment and someone needs to gag him and do it soon. Do you not just cringe when you hear him on any given show?
I appreciate the fact that you suffer trolls gladly as long as they present an argument, even if the argument is weak.
It seems you and mj are indeed soul mates n this regard.

What Delay says makes no sense, unless he is a total imbecile. I hate Judge Judy but had a roommate that used to watch her freshman year and the one thing she said that is more often true than not is if it doesn't make sense it's not the fact

Graham said...

Hey Alice,

You know I agree with you about Howard Dean. The truth is that Democrats don't have to wait for blunders, they've already occured... from economic mismanagment, to some of the more recent events we've seen. It's now incumbent upon prominent Democrats to start forging serious reputations amongst the mainstream media with the calibre of their opposition. Just recently only Barak Obama seems to have stepped up to this challenge IMO, although Hillary has certainly established some centrist credentials.

Thanks for your comment, Alice :)! And, yes, I'll always tolerate a POV regardless :).

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