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Sunday, January 08, 2006

DeLay Out as Leader, But Not Going Quietly

Crooks and Liars has the video up from DeLay's presser yesterday, and it is worth a watch and then some. The DNC ought to pull clips from this and play them in districts all over the country, because hubris and failure to take any responsibility don't even begin to describe DeLay here.

Nothing like a huge crowd of clapping and cheering supporters behind an indicted Republican smarm-monger, while DeLay says unbelievably false statements like "we have shrunk the size of this government." Oh, really?

The WaPo states the obvious: that DeLay has an ethics problem. (Is there a 12-step program for that, because I'm thinking there are a lot more folks on the Hill that may need it in the next few months...I see an enteprenurial niche for "Without Ethics Anonymous," I'm just saying.)

Meanwhile, the NYTimes explores how skittish Republicans are becoming about the 2006 elections, fearing that DeLay will be tied to them like a big, concrete block. If Dems are smart, that's exactly what they will do, in my opinion, because the KStreet project is still going whether or not DeLay is its figurehead of the moment -- and the whole dirty, smarmy mess needs some serious sunlight.
By 2003, the Republicans held a 2-to-1 advantage. Since 1998, the center found, more than 2,200 former federal employees had registered as federal lobbyists, as had nearly 275 former White House aides and nearly 250 former members of Congress. Many rules governing their conduct remain deliberately vague, and the House Ethics Committee has been paralyzed because of dysfunction and partisan disputes....

Of course, the record suggests that for every loophole any new law might close, lobbyists will find a way to open another....
This needs serious discussion, above and beyond whatever new indictments may come down over the course of the next few years. The way business is done in Washington needs some disinfecting. And I don't mean just by shutting out the Bugman.

UPDATE: Micah Sifry has some good analysis on the NYTimes piece regarding KStreet, and the ongoing myths about the possibilities for change. It's a good start on the conversation.