There is an old Army joke about the soldier who accidentally drops a quarter into the latrine. His buddy, laughing, says: “You would never put your hand down there to get that.” “Yes, I would,” the first guy counters. “And I’ll bet you twenty dollars.” After they shake on the bet, the hand goes directly into the muck and fishes out the quarter.
“Wow! I never thought you would do that for a quarter.”
“I didn’t. I did it for twenty dollars.”
It’s always a risk when you raise the stakes. And that is exactly what the Democratic Party has just done in the strange case of the Honorable Tom DeLay. The story, in case you have been too riveted by Simpson-Lachey and Aniston-Vaughn to keep up, is that Tom was indicted by the famous loose cannon Texas (Democrat) prosecutor, Ronnie Earle, for some arcane campaign violation. Additionally, he was being looked into by the Feds investigating the various irregularities practiced by the now-notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
The indictment, however legally thin, meant that he had to relinquish his status as House majority leader. Once he lost the post, it would be unlikely that he could regain it following an acquittal. All in all, he decided that the best course would be to resign his seat altogether and move to Virginia.
The Democrats, who can smell carrion baggage faster than a flight attendant, decided that they preferred having him on the hook. So they went to court, claiming that it was too late to remove his name from the ballot. Sure enough, the non-partisan federal court, the same ones that ruled it was not too late to take Torricelli’s name off the ballot in New Jersey — and he resigned much closer to Election Day, determined that he had delayed too long. Like Clinton, he could not get rid of his monicker.
Bad news, eh? Well, I am not convinced. I like it when they make our fighters fight. In fact, just today I sat with a Republican activist in Miami-Dade County who was telling me a tale from his youth. He was nine years old and a bully approached him in the street in front of his house. He ran into the yard and yelled: “Don’t cross my property line.” The bully kept coming, so he ran up the porch steps: “Don’t come onto my porch.” When that admonition went unheeded and the storm door was kicked open, my friend swung a baseball bat and put the bruiser into a two-week coma.
Congressman DeLay was being gracious and genteel when he strove to spare the Republican Party of the cacophony attendant upon his presence in the race. The Democrats would not accept the gift, so to heck with them. Give ’em both barrels, I say. If they want a showdown then it’s OK to corral them. Go Back to Texas and ride ’em, rope ’em and brand ’em. Yes, Virginia, there is a sanity clause; if the Dems in Texas want to go crazy, then we have to go back and help them into their strait jackets.
Obviously, Mr. DeLay knows better than us the extent of his Abramoff exposure. But the fact is that there has not been the slightest whiff in recent months of that graduating into actual criminal charges. Had Abramoff had either the facts or the intention to throw DeLay to the wolves, he would have likely done so some months ago. In which case, it is not too big a jump to say that the cloud over DeLay’s head may have a silver lining. If they demand a fight, let’s give them a fight.
Give me Tom DeLay in a fighting mood against any nerd that the Dems can pluck out of their Texas wilderness, and I’ll take The Exterminator, bugs and all. That man can indite the Republican message as well as anyone in this country; the Democrats have no message apparently, they can only indict. On that basis they want to govern from “c” to silent “c”: I don’t think so!
Yes, he’s a Virginia resident, but they can’t have it both ways. To employ a rarely used word, that is incompossible. That means, the two ideas are not mutually possible. If his name must be on the ballot, they must concede that he can return his residency to that location. Go out there, Tom, and fight the good fight. You have been the champion of the unborn, of those clinging to life, of the State of Israel. You fight — we will help — you will win. It’s worth going back into the latrine for that.