Well it’s been an extraordinary holiday, with the kids both back home for the first time, a lovely family feast complete with laughter and silliness; and still, I’m on cloud nine since the news Wednesday that a jury in Austin convicted Tom DeLay of money laundering and conspiracy for his scheme to illegally use corporate money to pack the Texas statehouse and gerrymander Texas congressional districts to give him a majority in Washington.
His conspiracy was successful. Six Democratic Congressmen lost their seats as their voters were moved out from under them. The Texas Congressional delegation, which long had acted in a bi-partisan manner for the good of the state, and for the amassing of power through the seniority system, was now as bitterly divided as the Congress itself in the wake of DeLay’s ‘pay-to-play’ K Street project and Reagan and the Bushes’ cynical use of Christian conservatives as a wedge-issue-motivated voting block.
The sentencing phase of DeLay’s trial begins on December 20th before Judge Pat Priest. DeLay faces up to 20 years on one count, and up to life on the other. Talk is that he might get off with probation. The planned appeal will be in the Texas’ Third Court of Appeals, the same court that once ruled that DeLay couldn’t be prosecuted for illegal fundraising because the money was in the form of checks. Should he lose there, a further appeal could go to the Roberts Supreme Court, which ruled in Citizens United v FCC to allow unlimited corporate election spending.
But for now, I’m enjoying this. DeLay is the reason that last month, I had the choice of a Phil Gramm clone and a Lyndon LaRouch nutcake in my congressional race, and it may be that way for years. From ‘the EPA are Nazis,’ to the Clinton impeachment, grandstanding on the brain-dead body of Terry Schiavo, his crooked dealings with the felon Jack Abramoff, pandering to crazy end timer Rev. John Hagee’s flock, or holding pro-war rallies with Rev. Ed Young’s sheeple, the body politic is a more venal and sordid place for his influence. Good riddance.