April 4, 2006
Whether you love him or hate him, Tom DeLay has clearly put the interests of his party first in deciding to resign from the House of Representatives at some unspecified future date. The decision was no doubt prompted by the [guilty plea last Friday] of his former aide Tony C. Rudy, who was involved in the Abramoff scandals, but that does not mean that DeLay is necessarily guilty of anything. See Washington Post. Mean people are just as entitled to the presumption of innocence as nice people are. This day has been coming ever since he was indicted last September, after which he stepped aside as majority leader. For someone with a reputation as a hardball player (nicknamed "The Hammer") his explanation that he didn't want to engage in a "nasty" reelection campaign seemed a little odd.
Rush Limbaugh rightly called attention to the fact that DeLay is the victim of Texas prosecutor (and partisan hack) Ronnie Earle, but went a bit far in lauding DeLay for such things as redrawing congressional districts to benefit his colleagus at his own expense. In my opinion, that whole approach to politics, contriving the rules of the game to maximize the chance of winning, tends to undermine the Republicans' stature and thereby makes it harder to govern. Now the big question is whether this will help the Republicans reverse their recent sagging political fortunes in time for the fall campaign. If you ask me, the GOP leaders had better come up with a positive agenda to persuade voters to pull the right lever, not just another round of slamming liberal Democrats. It's not that the lib Dems don't deserve such slamming, it's just that complaints about them have grown stale. It also raises suspicions among moderates that the Republicans don't really have any positive ideas on how to govern the country.
Thanks to Rush, I learned that the Massachusetts state legislature has passed a bill requiring that all residents purchase health insurance, so as to ease the burden of deadbeat [patients on hospitals and the government]. To make it easier on poor people, the state will offer a low-cost health insurance policy. "The House approved the bill on a 154-2 vote. The Senate endorsed it 37-0." See Boston Herald. Such an unfunded mandate marks a devastating blow to individual liberty, one more step in the Long March toward Socialism. Perhaps Hugo Chavez can lend a hand, like he is doing in providing low-cost heating oil to the shivering proletarians in the northeast.
This sounds like a good time, if you're a genuine gun-totin' patriot like Ollie North and Wayne LaPierre, and happen to have a big wad of cash in your wallet: Freedom Cruise. Not me.