Friday, June 09, 2006

With No Further DeLay

Tom "The Hammer" DeLay signed off yesterday with one final speech to the House—a speech that sent Democrats streaming for the doors by the dozens.

Apparently retirement speeches in the House are supposed to be warm and fuzzy affairs in which the outgoing member waxes nostalgic over bipartisanship and across-the-aisle camaraderie. With DeLay, not so much.
For all its faults, it is partisanship—based on core principles—that clarifies our debates, that prevents one party from straying too far from the mainstream and that constantly refreshes our politics with new ideas and new leaders.
DeLay went on to criticize Democrats for their support of "more government, more taxation, more control over people's lives and wallets." Apparently DeLay is unaware that the most massive expansion of government in recent memory happened under his watch and thanks to his tutelage.

On the issue of partisanship, I have to agree with ex-Speaker DeLay. Partisanship is what politics is all about, and a politician who is willing to sacrifice too many of his or her ideals on the altar of compromise ends up with no ideals at all. Sound familiar?

DeLay was never one for compromise. No, it usually [allegedly] took cold hard cash to get him to budge from his "core principles". Like when the adamantly pro-life DeLay scuttled legislation that would have banned sweatshops in the U.S. Territory of the Northern Mariana Islands that forced workers to have abortions—at the request of one Jack Abramoff.

A healthy partisanship is essential to politics. It's good for politics. But not if partisanship means lying, cheating and bullying your way to the top. And that's why Tom DeLay is delivering his retirement speech to a half-empty room, rather than serving his 11th term in office. So long and good riddance, Mr. Speaker.
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