Au Revoir, Tom DeLay [We Hope] | The Senate’s Nuclear Standoff | Let Us Pray

Trumping the Right Wing—Tom “The Hammer” DeLay, the Republican majority leader in the House of Representatives, was already in trouble when he toiled to engineer the controversial congressional intervention into the Terri Schiavo drama. It was an example of “justice DeLayed is justice denied.”

Among other discoveries following DeLay’s drive to push Congress to do what he called its “moral duty” to save Terri’s life were nearly forgotten reports that in 1988 he approved the withdrawal of life support from his father, paralyzed in an accident.

It isn’t clear yet what DeLay’s hypocritical bombast that “the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior” means. Will he call for the impeachment of the score of judges who, in his view, have “thumbed their nose at Congress and the president,” in failing to step in and order the reinsertion of Schiavo’s feeding tube, once it had been disconnected. He says he is arranging House committee hearings on that.

On top of DeLay’s ongoing flap with the House Ethics Committee, which has rebuked him three times for, among other things, his muscular vote-my-way-or-else intimidation of a fellow House member, DeLay is under investigation in his home state of Texas for money laundering of campaign contributions and for taking expense-paid overseas trips financed by lobbyists and special interests.

It all finally became too much for the editors of the Wall Street Journal, which usually champions crazed conservatives. In a lengthy and blistering editorial on March 28 they wrote that DeLay “has an odor” that “smells like the Beltway.” Two days later the Journal ran a lengthy news story reporting on campaigns by two liberal groups to secure DeLay’s resignation. It was headlined: “Ads Will Seek to Turn DeLay’s Powerful Network Into His Downfall.”

Noting that DeLay “rode to power in 1994 on a wave of revulsion at the everyday ways of government,” the Journal editorial said that he has “become the living exemplar of some of its worst habits.” Not enough? The editors continued: “His real fault lies in betraying the broader set of principles that brought him into office and that, if he continues as before, sooner or later will sweep him out.”

A fellow Texan, former Representative Charlie Wilson, a Democrat, said that DeLay was like a chicken in a barnyard who got pecked on its head and bled. “That is the danger for Tom DeLay right now,” he said. “Other chickens rush in and peck him to death.”

Supporting the Schiavo meddling hasn’t been good news for the president, either. A late-MarchTime magazine poll found 70 percent saying that Bush was wrong to intervene by rushing to sign DeLay’s Schiavo intervention bill into law, and 65 percent calling that decision more to do with politics than principle.

Ground Zero—As we go to press Washington is waiting for the Senate Republicans to try invoking their “nuclear option” to bust the Democrats’ filibusters of Bush’s conservative judicial nominees. The Republicans could end any hope of preventing President Bush from filling Supreme Court vacancies, much less dozens of appeals court seats, with clones of his judicial hero, Justice Antonin Scalia.

If the Republican Senate majority votes to disarm the Democrats’ filibusters by changing the chamber’s rules, the Democratic leadership has threatened to block most, or all, other legislative business. Maybe not a bad idea.

All Pray—On Easter week a church-going reader sent us the following “23rd Psalm According to Dubya.” All we can say is, Amen.

Bush is my shepherd, I shall dwell in want.
He maketh logs to be cut down in national forests.
He leadeth trucks into the still wilderness.
He restoreth my fears.
He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war, I will find no exit,
for thou art in office.
Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me.
Thou preparest an agenda of deception in the presence of thy religion.
Thou annointest my head with foreign oil.
My health insurance runneth out.
Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days of thy term.
And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.