Hit the Road, Jack

As we approach another Thanksgiving here at CHNN, I was feeling pretty cheated on my list of things to be thankful for.  Both wars still rage, with more offered up every few months, Obama has continued to be a horrible disappointment on civil liberties, the economy, and on and on, and the Republican party has gone from startlingly extreme to just plain cuckoo and been REWARDED for it by a deliberately and expensively misinformed electorate.   When this blog began in January 2009, I wasn’t exactly optimistic, but I certainly didn’t expect this, and yet here it is.  Glumly and not very expectantly trolling the intertubes for something uplifting to pick up my mood, I stumbled upon this, from the Los Angeles Times:

AUSTIN, Texas — Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay — once one of the most powerful and feared Republicans in Congress — was convicted Wednesday on charges he illegally funneled corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002.

Jurors deliberated for 19 hours before returning guilty verdicts against DeLay on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces up to life in prison on the money laundering charge.

After the verdicts were read, DeLay hugged his daughter, Danielle, and his wife, Christine. There was no immediate comment from him or his attorneys.

Well, I’ll be.  At least Texas’ creaky court system finally brought down ONE of the villains of the Bush era, ol’ Tom “the Hammer” DeLay, and with little fanfare, DeLay has finally gone the way that the whole lot of them ought to, even as Karl Rove waxes triumphant from his handy sinecure at Fox News.  I’ve always had a special loathing for DeLay, who took typical Republican corruption and election theft to previously unscaled and blatantly anti-democratic heights and was disturbingly and lastingly effective at it, and evidently a Texas jury felt the same way.  DeLay’s crimes, of course, weren’t any different in kind or degree from what has since been admiringly approved by the US Supreme Court, in its execrable Citizens (!) United decision; the Republican platform, and only possible route to electoral success lies in the ability of secret corporate malefactors financing deceptive and divisive ad campaigns to beat back the opposition.  DeLay got this, and early, and without this conviction, would have towered over George W. Bush as the most successful right-winger of a nauseatingly right-wing era.

Heinous, vulgar, and venal though he was, Tom DeLay got things done, and they were kind of big things: turning the Texas legislature red, redistricting the state to put more Republicans in the House, and using his expanded majority to help ram through policies that would lead to the devastation we enjoy today.  As far as fucking up the country completely, only Bush and Cheney can hold a candle to ol’ Tom, but at least he didn’t get away with it like they did. He’s going to jail.

I have to think that because of this long delayed (no pun intended…) conviction, this will also be a happy Thanksgiving for Ed Schultz, who long before he was an MSNBC star was just a radio host from Fargo, North Dakota, but was at least as obsessively anti-DeLay as I was.  He led every story about Tom DeLay with the sound of a toilet flushing, followed by strains of Ray Charles’ “Hit the Road, Jack,” and in those days the likelihood of such a thing happening were near zero.  What a difference a few years, and a relatively depoliticized (Texan!) justice system, makes;  DeLay will, perhaps, be hitting the road… on a chain gang.

Pass the gravy; I’m feeling thankful all over again.

17 Comments

  1. Yes! – “The Hammer” is going to jail. This one (albeit minor) action will make my Thanksgiving worthwhile. There were many slimy characters who crawled out from under the rocks during the Bush administration and Tom Delay was certainly one of the slimiest.

    Now, if only we could see Karl Rove, the ultimate slime ball, reach the same verdict, all would be well in the world.

  2. dirigo says:

    This is a TEXAS jury convicting one of its own.

    The appeal is a long shot.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Oh, I don’t know, maybe Tom has a plan that involves the Roberts Court. That’s worked before….
      Wait a minute; I’m supposed to be grateful at least for a day. Time to hit the bottle.

      • dirigo says:

        Worked before?

        Pray tell: Where? How?

        • dirigo says:

          Clarifying: The DeLay verdict was delivered in the Travis County State District Court in Austin, before an elected state judge.

          It is, definitively, a “Texas” verdict against a Texan.

          For commentary’s sake, it’s amusing to wonder how the Supreme Court of the United States may react one day to an appeal of the DeLay verdict, but, it still may be a very long shot.

          He may get five years net, a guy on the Ed Show said.

          • cocktailhag says:

            I do wonder at that; I think righties see their chance with the current court and are just going for it. Wouldn’t you? Five years is pretty hard time, after all. (Scooter, do you hear me?)

  3. retzilian says:

    I recently watched “Casino Jack: The United States of Money” and it was pretty good, not as good as I thought it would be. Anyhoo, Tom DeLay is featured in many clips, and it was SO OBVIOUS that he was up to his eyeballs in corrupt payoffs, and his relationship with Abramoff was the kiss of death.

    We haven’t seen the last of the Abramoff victims. Reid is going to go to jail, too. There are continuing investigations.

    The good news I read recently was that the FBI invaded a hedge fund. This is not a good thing for Wall Street. Should be interesting.

    Until Dick Cheney croaks, Dubya is arrested overseas and/or Lloyd Blankenfein is shackled and dragged out by a SWAT team, life will continue to be preposterously unfair.

    • cocktailhag says:

      That’s a nice Thanksgiving wish for next year… I’ll be keeping my eye on the hedge fund, too. Do you really think the feds will arrest any banksters? I have my doubts.

  4. michlib says:

    In Republican circles, a conviction is not a bad thing – it’s like becoming a made man in the mafia. I just wonder if his bunkmates will make him dance ?

  5. timothy3 says:

    This is an abuse of power,” the former congressman said outside the courtroom. “It’s a miscarriage of justice, and I still maintain that I am innocent. The criminalization of politics undermines our very system, and I am very disappointed in the outcome.”

    This to laugh maniacally and the sweet, sweet taste of corrupt fruit, now dribbling with an ironic bitterness from Delay’s lips is, well, it’s just marvelous.
    CH, I’ve posted a number of comments that never show up; they just disappear.
    You isn’t mad at me, is you?

    • cocktailhag says:

      Ah, the old “criminalization of politics” thingy… What Republican scofflaw fails to trot that one out?
      PS…. I haven’t seen any comments from you in quite a while, T3, but I certainly haven’t disappeared any. Glad you got through this time. Anybody else have that problem?

  6. dirigo says:

    It is interesting that De Lay’s attack on a state-rendered jury verdict aligns so neatly with the standard right wing rhetoric on the supposed political motivations behind reasonable judgments concerning criminality.

    Well, what else COULD he say?

    Yet, De Lay fires blanks, and the nation may now be able to turn its lonely eyes toward a landscape where many Texas-size political liars may be out of the loop. For a while.

    The success or failure of the De Lay appeal may indicate a trend: that a jury of De Lay’s peers has lanced a boil much bigger than themselves.

    Still, the cow pie lies continue …

    http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/112310.html

    And for the umpteenth time, Willie Nelson was arrested in Texas for possession of pot.

    “It’s good for my prostate,” he said, prior to arraignment.