Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tommy Dee and the House Wreckers: One Last Song from the Land of Sugar

We haven’t taken pen in hand since our former representative in the U.S. House took his early retirement, and while we hesitate to add to the incisive analysis and penetrating dialogue that followed his abrupt departure, we couldn’t restrain our self after seeing this story on Thursday’s Channel 11 news (the following is a compressed version of the story from the station's Web site):
Nick Lampson, Democratic nominee for Tom DeLay's soon-to-be-vacated seat in the U.S. House, tried to hold a news conference Thursday at 10 a.m. on the steps of Sugar Land's City Hall. But as soon as he stepped to the microphone, he was swarmed by approximately 30 DeLay supporters who all but prevented him from speaking … 11 News discovered evidence from DeLay's team that asked Republican supporters to disrupt Lampson's event … as Lampson called for a special May election to fill the resigning congressman's seat, things began to go awry … Suddenly, the Lampson camp found itself swarming with DeLay supporters. "We do not want a Democrat in this area," said DeLay supporter Vera Kuhn. All the while the Democrat struggled to talk above the roar … Turns out, DeLay's campaign manager [Chris Homan] is largely responsible. He admits sending an e-mail urging DeLay supporters to give Lampson a parting shot that “wrecks” his press conference.
Homan, when asked twice by a Channel 11 reporter whose name escapes us, but who’s a persistent questioner, whether he had written the email, replied:
"We absolutely were interested in bringing out Republican activists to that press conference and letting Mr. Lampson know they don't appreciate him being a liberal from Beaumont. That is my e-mail where I was contacting Republican activists."
Several points, in the order in which they presented themselves:

1. These people (the DeLay supporters) are fucking nuts.

2. While we suppose you can’t directly blame DeLay for the attempted disruption, he certainly laid the table for it through his dozen or so years of slashing hyper-partisanship, and he must be held accountable for the actions of his employees, or recent ex-employees (y’know, just like Carol Alvarado!)

3. DeLay should apologize to his constituents, and to Lampson, for hiring such a turd as Mr. Homan.

4. Don’t Homan and his fellow morons realize that they’re engaging in the same sort of behavior conservatives rush to condemn every time a gaggle of pseudo-leftists tries to shut down a conservative speaker at the corner university (just insert “We don’t want [conservative speaker’s name here] on our campus” for "We do not want a Democrat in this area.")?

5. … Which leads us to wonder, again: Why did conservatives deliberately turned a blind eye to DeLay’s documented excesses for so long? The stench has been wafting off of him for a good 10 to 12 years (blind eye … stench … we’ll mix those metaphors especially for this occasion), whether or not it’s determined that he broke the law, and it’s only in the last year or so that (some) conservatives have begun even clearing their throats over DeLay.

6. … And didn’t DeLay set the table for the admitted influence peddlers and shakedown artists who are among his ex-employees (insert Carol Alvarado comparison here)?

7. Not that we want to be in the position of defending the Houston Chronicle---we’d rather go edge the sidewalk in our front yard, or do something equally as pointless---but we remember the to-do in the local blogosphere and elsewhere over a Chronicle poll suggesting that DeLay would be weakened in his Republican primary and could well be in a spot of trouble in the general election.

As we noted that the time, common sense would suggest that DeLay had been taken down a notch or two by all the bad publicity, although we expected he’d win his primary handily and prevail in the general election. In taking his leave, DeLay said the 60 percent he got in the GOP primary wasn’t what he expected (or deserved), and his internal polls showed his general election chances were “50-50.” So, um, Dick Murray and the Chronicle poll were generally just saying what DeLay, at least, already knew.

8. DeLay’s rise was as remarkable as his fall was predictable. We recall accompanying him as he block-walked in West University Place, then in his district, when he was first running to succeed Ron Paul in 1984. He was a pleasant traveling companion---self-effacing, gracious, even fun, at least compared to most politicians we ran across. It was just him and us, going door-to-door like two mustachioed Mormon missionaries. He was unaccompanied by handlers or factotums, and drove himself to the location.

Back then, he seemed to aspire to be nothing more than a footsolider in the Reagan Revolution, and while it certainly takes a goodly amount of ambition to run for and won a seat in Congress, we never would have imagined that the easy-going candidate with the helmet of bad ’80s hair possessed the maniacal drive to rise to so high, then self-destruct.

We find it impossible to square that memory with those pictures of the strange creature with the retouched face who seems to be floating as he clambers into the waiting SUV, surrounded by aides and trailed by the cameras, running away from something or other.

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