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A truly venal politician from Texas who is often the embodiment of all those caricatures about conservative Republicans. The "man behind the curtain", perhaps, now that Newt's gone. To list just one of his pet projects (for we only have 512 bytes): he championed the use of the "Made in the USA" label on garments made in sweatshops in the (US) Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, pocketing lobbyist cash and goodies for his troubles. A human "For Sale" sign.

Ok, before I get started on this, let me say that although much of this sounds like it was written for RumourQuest 2006, the majority of it is true. The only thing that might be called into question is his lineage and I’ve tried to address that in the first paragraph.

The Early Years

Tom DeLay was “born” in Laredo, Texas back in 1947. At the time, little was said about him but as he began to age and his personality began to take hold, rumors began to spread that he was the illegitimate spawn of a one night stand involving Senator Joseph McCarthy and a local hooker. As the local gossip began to grow, he and the person that he knew as his father took off for the oil laden hills of Venezuela to make their family fortune. After returning home to further his education he enrolled at Baylor University where he quickly earned the nickname of “Hot Tub Tom” due to his penchant for the ladies and his legendary stamina when it came to tipping a few back with some of his fraternity brothers. After a prank involving painting the Baylor colors of green and gold on a building that belonged to arch rival Texas A&M, the school had had enough and quickly expelled him. His “father” pulled some strings and he found himself enrolled at the University of Houston where he graduated with a degree in science and a major in biology.

Tom decided to put his diploma to good use and quickly opened a pest control company. It was during this stint that he earned yet another nickname, “The Exterminator”. Unfortunately for him and, depending on how you look at it, for America, the business was short lived but during its brief lifespan managed to attract the attention of the Internal Revenue Service. As owner, DeLay faced tax liens at least three times for failing to pay both payroll and income taxes. He also found himself dragged in to civil court when he was sued by two of his fellow associates who claimed that he had cheated them. An agreement between them was made and out of court settlement was reached.

Praise the Lord and Don’t Pass the Hand Grenades!

American politics being what they are, one of the first rules of thumb is to account for your actions when the country was at war. In this case, Mr. DeLay was no different. With the Vietnam War running at full throttle, DeLay claims he tried to enlist in 1969 but was told that ethnic minorities had already filled all of the available slots. Apparently DeLay had no reservations about them there people becoming bullet stoppers and soon searched out and attained a student deferment. By the time 1970 rolled around, DeLay was already married and had received a pretty high number in the draft lottery. To this day, none of his friends or colleagues can recall him going to the recruiting office nor is there any evidence that has surfaced except for his word indicating that he tried to enlist.

With nothing to do and nowhere to go, DeLlay decided that politics would be his destiny decided to make a run for the Texas House of Representatives in 1978. Texas politics being what they are, he won and soon found himself struggling with the bottle and in his own words was downing eight to twelve martinis a night during fundraising and at various social receptions.

After struggling with his inner demons for years, Tom turned to the Bible and announced himself as a born again Christian back in 1985. He and his wife Christine soon took up the cause involving the plight of foster children and found themselves as foster parents. It was also during this time that he sort of broke ties with the rest of his family and remains somewhat estranged from many of them to this day.

In 1984 he decided that he had outgrown local politics and decided to make a run for the U. S. House of Representatives. The fellow Republican that he replaced was resigning his post due to his firm commitment to the belief in term limits. Until recently, DeLay seemed to have no such qualms.

Upon arriving in the House, DeLay began almost immediately making a name for himself with his fellow Republicans by publicly showing his contempt for such dangerous institutions as the National Endowment for the Arts and the Environmental Protection Agency. A fellow Republican by the name of Dick Cheney soon took notice of this brash, outspoken young stud and appointed him as minority deputy whip in the Democratically controlled House. Once the Republicans gained control of the House in 1995, DeLay was elected to Majority Whip. As hard as it seems to believe, even Newt Gingrich, the man many people credited with the Republican victory, had his reservations regarding DeLay’s capabilities and temperament.

If I Had a Hammer

DeLay soon began to further strengthen his reputation for his “take no prisoners” brand of politics and his reputation for extracting vengeance on those who opposed his positions and was christened with yet another nickname. Now known as “The Hammer” DeLay would often make reference to the fact that a hammer is one of the most valuable tools in a carpenter’s repertoire. As we all know, even the most experienced of carpenter’s manage to hammer themselves on the thumb every now and then and it wouldn’t be long before DeLay would get caught looking the other way and nail himself.

Man, That Fuckin’ Hurts!

In 2002 DeLay was elected by his fellow Republicans to the position of Majority Leader. Once in control, he managed to keep a close rein on any mavericks and party discipline and allegiance became paramount in the decision making process. Breaking ranks was almost unheard of among his fellow party members due to the price that would later have to be paid.

In 2005 it all began to unravel for Mr. DeLay. When it seemed the entire nation was in the grips of the Terri Schiavo fiasco and the whole “right to die” issue was at the forefront of the news, DeLay and some other right to lifers called an emergency session of the House and put forth a bill that allowed for Mrs. Schiavo’s parents to petition against the removal of her feeding tube. This was indirect opposition to her husband’s wishes and his claim that she supposedly had told him that she would never want to be placed on life support. Once the feeding tube was removed, DeLay called the action “barbaric” and that “the men responsible will have to answer to their behavior."

Many people felt a slight twinge of hypocrisy when Mr. DeLay made these remarks since he had personally consented to his father being removed from a life support system after an accident that had rendered him comatose back in 1988.

Later in the year he was finally indicted on money laundering charges. When you combined that with some other questionable ethics practices he engaged in like the promising of chairmanships of various committees in exchange for votes and loyalty and the misuse of various federal investigative entities to go after Democrats in his home state of Texas, DeLay’s fate was almost sealed. His indictment gave him the distinction being the first House Leader in over one hundred years to earn that status.

DeLay tried to but on a brave face and hold on to his title but soon stepped down amongst growing pressure amongst his peers from both sides of the political aisle. He claimed that he was innocent of all charges and once proven so, he would return to his position of House Majority Leader.

Not long afterwards came the case of uber lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the rumors of widespread corruption and influence peddling. Even though Mr. DeLay had been the recipient of golfing trips to Scotland, concert tickets and the use of Mr. Abramoff’s skyboxes for various events, he continued to deny that any of these perks might have influenced his vote.

Now that two of his staff members that were being investigated in the whole Abramoff case have pled guilty to charges of corruption, Mr. DeLay seems to have had a change of heart. On April 3, 2006, while admitting no wrongdoing, he announced that he would resign his seat in the House and not seek re-election. He claims that he was doing what was best for the Republican Party and that he was willing to step aside and not make his seat in the House a national issue for the Democrats to rally around during the mid term elections slated for November of this year.

Personal Thoughts

I dunno, when faced with criticism and charges of impropriety Mr. DeLay has been a fighter his whole career and in an odd sort of way you have to admire him for that. Maybe this time though, he was either afraid of being convicted or getting his ass kicked in the election. Either way, I think America is better off without him.



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