Justice DeLay’ed, But The Damage Is Done

November 26, 2010

(ChattahBox Op/Ed News) – Tom “The Hammer” DeLay, the former Republican Speaker of the House who was forced into resigning his seat in 2006 over illegal campaign donations was convicted on Wednesday of illegally funneling corporate campaign donations to his hand chosen political candidates in 2002.  His TRMPAC (Texas for a Republican Majority) campaign committee was founded and whose sole purpose was to raise money to defeat Democrats in the state of Texas no matter what the cost or the rules, for that matter.DeLay, as you may recall, was known widely for his bullying tactics within his own Party and as a political bulldog who would go to any length to get what he wanted. His rhetoric and actions were closely aligned and his reputation for forcing his agenda and getting his way was legendary.  Not one Republican dared to challenge him publically for fear of losing prized committee assignments or other leadership posts, and it was DeLay who personally hand picked every member of the Republican leadership during his tenure as House Speaker.

Of course I was no fan of Tom DeLay for a variety of reasons.  His love of all things Republican and the rumors of his bullying were not just legendary but became a part of a political culture that thrives today.  I would even suggest that Tom DeLay took politics to the lowest depths it has ever experienced and it still resided there.

I’m not entirely sure what the potential penalty for his conviction is.  I doubt he will do jail time and what ever the punishment is it will not undo what’s already been done, and I’m not just talking about the illegal distribution of campaign contributions.  Tom Delay was of singular mind when he solely decided that Democrats were not synonymous with Texas politics and personally took up the challenge of dismantling Texas state politics and not only was he successful, his method of “leadership” has been cookie cutter for many state political leaders.

How DeLay won was through a process we will be hearing a lot about over the next year as states all across the country will begin to look at the Census data and begin the difficult task or redistricting, a process by which it is decided how many members in the House of Representatives each state gets and how on the state level districts are drawn as well.  DeLay saw this as his political crow bar and proceeded to raise money, illegally as we found out, and went about the process of electing an Republican majority in the Texas state legislature all but guaranteeing the districts would be drawn to not only to protect incumbents but to make the districts more favorable to Republicans across the state.  It worked.

Tom Delay, by most accounts, not just mine, was a mean spirited and selfish politician.  His insatiable need to win at all costs ended up being his downfall but not before he was wildly successful in changing foundational politics in Texas and nationally.  His words often were meant to bite and sting and he never, ever backed away from his point of view or used the word compromise in his life.  His agenda was THE agenda, and if you were a Republican you never, ever disagreed with him publically or privately.  I’m just guessing here, but I’m betting when he was forcefully pushed into resigning in 2006 there were some pretty happy celebrations within Republican circles. Yeah, he was that mean.

Once Tom DeLay sunk his teeth into an issue or a person it was all over but the funeral.  Of course he didn’t win every fight, it is politics after all, but that didn’t mean he ever lost either.  Even in defeat he would rebound with another issue or human target to vent his vitriol at, even if that target were a fellow Republican. In Ton DeLay’s world there were two kinds of Republicans: His kind or nothing.  Seriously.

The damage he created is done and cannot be undone.  Guilty or not he succeeded in turning Texas from a Red State into a Blood Red State.  His fingerprints are all over this mess we currently experiencing today and the impact of his hate and cheating have forever changes the strategy of politics as we know it.  Someone has to be the first one to set new rules, break the laws, and change the system, and he was absolutely fine doing that. Trust me when I tell you he is all smiles today in spite of losing his legal battle.  He is a-OK with it!

The irony for me has always been that Tom DeLay is an exterminator by profession.  Isn’t it interesting how his chosen profession prepared him for his political life?

Tony Trupiano is a former national syndicated progressive radio talk show host, author, and a former candidate for Congress. He is also a nationally recognized media trainer.  He can be reached at tony@mediatony.com and can read his Blog at www.mediatraining.me.


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