Wednesday, November 17, 2004


When You're The Majority....

You can change the rules...

Back when the GOP was struggling to take the House, it launched several "ethics" attacks on prominent House Leaders. The Republicans used the momentum of several ethics scandals involving democrats to

(A)dopted the indictment rule in 1993, when they were trying to end four decades of Democratic control of the House, in part by highlighting Democrats' ethical lapses. They said at the time that they held themselves to higher standards than prominent Democrats such as then-Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski (Ill.), who eventually pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced to prison. It was this kind of leadership by example that drew me to the party. They weren't, like the tired democratic majority at the time, going to hold themselves to a lower standard for the sake of retaining power.

What a difference a decade makes. The GOP is firmly in control and the revolutionary principles they rode into power are being shed faster than cabinet secretaries.

House Republicans proposed changing their rules last night to allow members indicted by state grand juries to remain in a leadership post, a move that would benefit Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) in case he is charged by a Texas grand jury that has indicted three of his political associates, according to GOP leaders.

The proposed rule change, which several leaders predicted would win approval at a closed meeting today, comes as House Republicans return to Washington feeling indebted to DeLay for the slightly enhanced majority they won in this month's elections. DeLay led an aggressive redistricting effort in Texas last year that resulted in five Democratic House members retiring or losing reelection. It also triggered a grand jury inquiry into fundraising efforts related to the state legislature's redistricting actions.

Power is a funny thing isn't it? Somehow, some way, the GOP leadership has convinced themselves that Delay's infractions of the rules and possible criminal indictment are not worthy of the standards they set that helped them take the majority in the first place. It's too bad.

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