Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tom DeLay throws in the towel

The gay conservative former Bush supporter and ex-semi-Republican Andrew Sullivan captures the significance of Tom DeLay's withdrawal from politics.
You know it's bad for the GOP when National Review and Instapundit barely mention the big news of the day. Tom DeLay's resignation from elective politics, barely a year and a half after the triumphant Republican re-election campaign of 2004, is a remarkable fall from grace. It happened because the bankruptcy of contemporary Republicanism is increasingly unmissable. And it happened because of obvious corruption, sleaze and a complete lack of broad public appeal. DeLay's skills were not retail; they were back-door: the schemes and deals and handshakes that are inextricable from effective government but not pretty in daylight. DeLay took that ruthlessness too far, got exposed, and now fairly taints the GOP's broad national image. It's probably good news for the Republicans in the short term. They get some time to distance themselves from the architect of their Congressional hegemony. But he was the architect, as integral to contemporary Republicanism as Karl Rove; and the product of the same Southern/Texan Christianist movement that has turned the Republican party into a religious sect, with some business interests along for the ride.
Well, to be honest, I'm not so sure that those "business interests" are just passengers. But we'll let that pass. Otherwise this is on target and judiciously phrased. You can read the rest here.

=> But as Joshua Marshall pointed out: "DeLay is out. But it's DeLay's House. DeLay's Republican DC machine." Unfortunately, the larger structure he helped to build up is still in place (and can probably be kept in place as long as we continue to have one-party government in Washington DC).
Furthermore, even in terms of DeLay's own situation, this decision to pull out of his House race almost certainly means that he expects to be hit with some very serious indictments in the near future. So the whole story is far from over. Stay tuned. (In the meantime, some of the gory details can be found here.)
--Jeff Weintraub