Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tonga

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Just Like Tom Delay's Blues

[UPDATE: I unwittingly omitted the links in the fifth paragraph that would lead you to Dan Froomkin's “White House Briefing” column (where I read about dissent within Calvin College) and to the Calvin College group website, Our Commencement Is Not Your Platform . I have corrected the omissions.]

Washington Post's headline story for today's paper:

GOP to Reverse Ethics Rule Blocking New DeLay Probe
January Change Led Democrats to Shut Down Panel

By Mike AllenWashington Post Staff WriterWednesday, April 27, 2005; Page A01

House Republican leaders, acknowledging that ethics disputes are taking a heavy toll on the party's image, decided yesterday to rescind a controversial rule change that led to the three-month shutdown of the ethics committee, according to officials who participated in the talks.

Dr. Frist's nuclear option is bombing; worldwide terrorism increased "sharply" last year but the State Department has let us know that it doesn't want us to know; Social Security likely will not be deformed by private accounts; there were NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION in Iraq (poor Charles Duelfer-- he's said it three times. Can he click his heels together and go home now?); Bush strolled hand-in-hand through the bluebonnets with Prince Abdullah but didn't get enough new oil to make his nose brown; our President doesn't believe in condoms, even as prophylactics, but takes a whore to the prom; John Bolton looks about as good a nominee for high office as Bernie Kerik; and Harry Reid keeps kicking sand back into the bully's face (Daily Kos has muchmuchmore).

If George Lakoff's Strict Father/Nurturant Parent model holds, the nation's saying "Father doesn't know best." More to the point, the Democrats are taking the protection aspect of nurturant parent seriously.

As Mr. Zimmerman said,

When you're lost in the rain in Juarez
And it's Eastertime too
And your gravity fails
And negativity don't pull you through
Don't put on any airs
When you're down on Rue Morgue Avenue
They got some hungry women there
And they really make a mess outa you

The Republicans really are a mess right now, and on the brink of making things worse. They've misbehaved, blasphemed, and bullied the American people to the point that they've lost credibility even among themselves.

Dan Froomkin writes in the Washington Post that the White House selected a Christian liberal arts college as the beneficiary of a Presidential commencement speech, only to discover that all Christians aren't equally willing to define their religion in the meanest of terms. [John Burton Wolf, Minister Emeritus of All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, used to repeat the distinction between the religion OF Jesus, and the religion ABOUT Jesus. It seems that Calvin College knows the difference.]

Now the House Republicans, unsuccessful in blaming the Democrats for the failure to investigate the ever-slimier Tom DeLay, are beginning to smell mid-term elections in the air. Republican hopes for reelection are souring, with even the Republican-weighted Gallup Poll reporting that the electorate thinks that Congress stinks. Not that the public perception is on point or anything like that:

The vote planned for later this week will mark the second time in four months that House Republicans have changed a rule but then changed it back under public pressure because the changes were perceived as designed to protect DeLay.

Here's the fun part of the Post article:

Last November, Republicans rewrote an 11-year-old party rule that required a party leader to step aside if indicted, and instead made it possible for such a leader to maintain the party position. A grand jury in Austin was investigating the campaign finances of a political action committee created by DeLay and his political associates. After public objections to the maneuver, DeLay asked his party colleagues to rescind that change when they returned to Washington on Jan. 3 for the 109th Congress, and they did.

The next day, the full House approved -- on a largely party-line vote of 220 to 195 -- changes that Democrats contended would make it harder to launch investigations and would undermine their effectiveness. The ethics chairman at the time, Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.), broke with his party and voted against the rules package. Hastert later replaced Hefley as chairman. Republican aides concede that many lawmakers will be unhappy about having to vote again on ethics rules.

"This will be the second time that they went home and defended a change, then we pulled the rug out from under these guys," one aide said. "We went to them and defended the changes on the merits, and then made it look like the Democrats got their way. That's a tough position to put your members in."

Having to defend one's decisions is often difficult. That's part of politics-- you know, responsibility and accountability. At least this time the House Republicans won't be trying to defend the indefensible.