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September 30, 2005

DeLayism Redux

Now, with the Bugman seeming a bit squashed, self-congratulating reformers (particularly Republicans) are happily looking towards a new era of cleanliness and transparency under DeLay's deputy, protege, and close friend Roy Blunt. Said another way, it's time to make my old post on DeLayism new again.

As it stands, Democrats are dashing towards a bit of a wall here. DeLay's indictment is on conspiracy, a relatively minor charge that will, at best, link him to the wrongdoing of others. But Tom DeLay is not a bad, hated dude simply because his campaign financing tactics are questionable and his redistricting schemes are Soviet in style. Nah, the issue with DeLay is that he's the Henry Ford of modern Republican politics, and even if the man himself goes down, the assembly line he's constructed will still be manned. Because that's what he is, really, not a powerful guy, but a new way of running and keeping a majority, of integrating industry and activists and politicians annd idea peddlers into the sort of coherent whole they were never meant to be. So while the "Industry" section may no longer have Abramoff and the "Congressional" quarter may lose DeLay, by and large, the operation will remain essentially unchanged.

And that's what Democrats have to attack. DeLayism is the K Street project is corporate cronyism. It's the Sugar Valley exterminator's decision to absorb the institutional power, memory, and contacts of Washington's lobbyist corps., merge all the different causes into a coherent and partisan organization, and use them to retain control of the House. Used to be that Tobacco Lobbyists lobbied for Big Tobacco while Textile Lobbyists looked after Textiles. But now Tobacco Lobbyists are deployed to convince congressmen from Tobacco-producing states to vote for legislation wholly unrelated to Tobacco, say, the Bankruptcy Bill. And they do this because DeLay promises them, in return, that he'll support Big Tobacco's agenda. Lobbyists act as foot soldiers in return for DeLay deputizing them legislators.

This transformation of Washington Lobbyists into an effective Republican whip organization totally changes the calculus of deliberative democracy. Now that lobbyists are on the inside, they have to be of the right partisan affiliation (one of DeLay's ethical reprimands was for demanding the Electrical Industry hire a Republican as head lobbyist), they have to be loyal on all subjects, they have to be allies during the campaign and, in return, they, and not Congress, end up writing the legislation.

Roy Blunt is part and parcel of this operation, taught by DeLay to use it, groomed by him to inherit it. The fight over Dreier happened because Roy is so deep in the protocols that DeLay knows he'll never be able to wrest K Street back -- the difference between him and Blunt won't be great enough to justify the disruption. But even if this is the end of Tom, it's not the end of DeLayism, and if Democrats fail to kill that, none of this will have been worth a damn. So focus on DeLay for now, but only if the larger game is proving how DeLay is omnipresent, how Congressional Republicans are molded in his image and how that, not the man himself, is what must be destroyed.

September 30, 2005 in Republicans | Permalink

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Comments

Just a technical correction. DeLay is from Sugarland, TX, not Sugar Valley.

Posted by: On Second Thought | Sep 30, 2005 12:52:23 PM

Good post, but don't call it "Delayism". It is simply today's GOP. The word "Republican" really suffices.

Posted by: wcw | Sep 30, 2005 12:55:44 PM

Ah yes, but how long can the Bugman maintain his fiefdom from stage left? A Globe article today cited both moderates (like Chris Shays) and conservatives (still smarting from the ballooning spending) smacking their lips at the prospect of a DeLayless House. The GOP has already split apart, it just hasn't come together in coherent fractured pieces so that we can tell where the factions are.

Posted by: Jeff | Sep 30, 2005 7:03:39 PM

http://tinyurl.com/bstgq

A Travis County grand jury last week refused to indict former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as prosecutors raced to salvage their felony case against the Sugar Land Republican.

Working on its last day Friday, the second grand jury refused to indict DeLay. Normally, a "no-bill" document is available at the courthouse after such a decision. No such document was released Tuesday.

"It just gets worse and worse," DeGuerin said. "He's gone to three grand juries over four days. Where does it stop?"


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