Tom Delay, former Congressman and much-feared “Hammer” for the Republican Party, has written a book. A disappointing whine of self-pity, actually, and nothing worth your time, attention, or money. In brief, DeLay wrote a warped, bitter perspective on the present political condition, a paranoid delusion where he is at no fault but everyone else, from opponents to his (former) closest friends, is to be blamed. I find myself troubled to discover that a man who did so much to help lead the 1994 Republican Revolution, should now prove to be so petty, disloyal, and shallow.
I wrestled for a while about what to write here. Tom DeLay did a lot of good for the nation and for his district while he was a Congressman, and for that he deserves respect and thanks. But that hardly excuses his present conduct and arrogance, so common among many men and women on the Hill. But there is a point where Republicans, especially, should remember not only their worth and value but also their limits and responsibilities, including the so-often-ignored duty to take orders from the leadership for the advancement of promised legislation, and party discipline in order to prevent the opposition from playing divide-and-conquer in order to gain power. Of course, even though I was saying this last year, it was ignored in preference of personal feuds and individual empire-building. DeLay’s lie that President Bush is “compassionate … but no conservative” is not only popular among men inclined to excuse their derilection of duty, but also those many people who love a television camera more than remembering their promises to their constituents.
The Democrats do not seem inclined to do a better job of governing than the Republicans, but that is hardly the goal we should seek. Reaching, then defending a party consensus for the nation’s needs is more than just a nice idea; it is the essential mission which must be pursued right now. And unfortunately, before that can happen the GOP needs to sit its members down, point out Tom DeLay, what he was and what he has become, and explain clearly that the DeLay of 1994 helped create greatness, while the DeLay of 2006 helped tear down the party. It is well past time to clean house of egotists and unaccountable mandarins.