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.