While the attention has been focused on George W. Bush finally (legitimately) winning a Presidential election, another important election, this one right here in Texas, also yielded some very disappointing results. Voters in Texas District 22, which, sadly, happens to be my district, have returned ethically-challenged, power-mad House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to Congress.
DeLay’s re-election is a sad commentary on what the voters in this district expect from their Congressman. Apparently, the voters in District 22 have no problem with the fact that DeLay occupies an ethical and moral vaccuum larer than some states. The fact that DeLay is a power-mad martinet concerned solely with his own self-aggrandizement and political empire-building seems not to matter to the voters in District 22. The fact that three of DeLay’s aides were indicted last month on illegal campaign-funding charges doesn’t seem to be an issue of particular concern, either.
The sad reality is that Tom DeLay is a corrupt, venal buffoon. He is an embarrassment to Texas, to the District he represents, and to himself. The only thing that seems to matter to voters in this District is the word “Republican” that follows his name.
DeLay, a Sugar Land Republican and the House majority leader, took 55 percent of the vote, according to complete but unofficial returns. Democrat Richard R. Morrison had 41 percent. Libertarian Tom Morrison and independent candidate Michael Fjetland won the remainder.
DeLay will continue to represent Texas’ heavily Republican 22nd Congressional District, which includes areas of Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston and Harris counties. But the size of his victory was considerably smaller than in recent campaigns, when he polled between 60 percent and 74 percent of the vote.
Democrats and other challengers generally have been unable to mount a serious threat to DeLay, who has wielded considerable money and popularity within his district.
But Richard Morrison raised more than $500,000 for his campaign this year, giving him a larger war chest than recent DeLay challengers. Morrison used that money to try to persuade voters that DeLay used questionable if not illegal tactics to raise money for his and other Republicans’ congressional and legislative campaigns.
Three DeLay associates were indicted last month on illegal campaign-funding charges related in part to the Republican redistricting push.
The House Ethics Committee, evenly divided among Republicans and Democrats, unanimously voted this year to admonish DeLay for showing an “appearance of favoritism” to a company that donated to his political action committees and for contacting the Federal Aviation Administration to search for Democratic state legislators who fled Texas in an effort to defeat the redistricting plan.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, House minority leader, has called on DeLay to resign his leadership position. But the Republican speaker of the house, J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, defended DeLay and called the ethics committee “a battleground for politics.”
The sad reality, especially here in Texas, is that being a corrupt, mean-spirited, and venal politician is not a problem as long as you’re a Republican. If Tom DeLay were a Democrat, he would likely have lost his re-election campaign by a country mile (and deservedly so). Being Republican, though, apparently means never having to say that your sorry. It also means that you get to live by a much different set of rules. Yes, the rules certainly are different in the party of Ronald Reagan. What others might call corruption is merely “doing the People’s business”.
What a sad, sorry commentary on the state of our society. Here’s a suggestion, kids, should you ever decide to go into politics: run as a Republican. Should you ever get caught with your hands in the cookie or with a naked, underaged intern kneeling in front of you, you won’t have to worry about being held accountable by your constituents- or anyone else. You can count on the system being set up to soft-peddle whatever your personal peccadillo, ethical shortcoming, or moral faux pas happens to be.
Yep, the sad reality is that being a Republican really does mean never having to say that you’re sorry. It also means never having to worry about being held accountable for anything illegal, unethical, or immoral. Anything can be explained away, because you’re a member of the Club.
Perhaps Democrats in this district will try again in two years. Unless we can catch DeLay in flagrante delicto with Barbara Bush, Jenna Bush, AND Barney the dog, I’m not certain we can come up with a candidate stronger than Richard Morrison.