Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tom Delay – Enemy of all that is American…

I didn't get to see the former majority leader on Russert's show, but I did catch him on NPR this morning. It simply astounds me that someone can rise to such power in the American form of government without a basic understand of what that government stands for.


The interview was a study in altered realities: the man known as "The Hammer" denied that he was authoritarian leader who used a strong arm to keep the republican caucus in line. Instead, he painted a picture of his time in congress as a consensus builder: even if only for his republican colleagues.


However, his world-view couldn't help but peak-out when asked about working with democrats from across the isle: "Why would I want to work with the enemy?" … Maybe because they are elected representatives and fellow American's who have a different perspective on an issue?




He freely spoke of doing what it took to keep the republican majority in power… and was obviously proud of the K-Street project: the mob-style extortion scheme he spearheaded to remove any democratic influence from the lobbying system and ensure 1-party received the VAST majority of funding.


Not that the lobbying system wasn't already broken: but at least lobbyist worked with representatives from both parties – hedging their bets. Delay introduced the "innovation" of demanding that any lobbyist who worked with him and his party completely disassociate themselves from any of "the enemies" from across the isle. His "winner take all" approach to funding paralleled the way his congress rammed legislation thru without much debate or open dissent.


Many would say that he simply was vigorously representing his ideals and those of his constituents… But ideals – as expressed by our representatives -- should be grounded in an understanding of a free society based on the protection of the "inherent" rights of the citizens. That means "all citizens" – not just white Christians. A brief look at the way the man used power quickly dispels any illusion that Delay understands that premise – the premise of the American experiment.


From the Shaivo case to his attempts to enact laws based on conservative Christian dogma, Delay embodied everything that was anti-American. His agenda was not only partisan, but anti-American in the sense that is was based on narrow religiously-founded beliefs in "right and wrong" – beliefs not based on the governments right to restrict or punish behavior that infringes on the rights of others… but on the belief that certain behaviors were an affront to the Christian god.


His perspectives are hardly surprising however. Delay spoke about his "born-again" experience and his redemption from a life of booze and partying: There's nothing scarier than a reformed drunk, high on self-righteousness, in a position of power. Coupled with an absolute belief in the power of the free market to address all of society's ills, you have the recipe for governance based on a radical-ideology: an ideology based on the premise that "not only do I have the answers, but I know I have the answers because god is on my side…"


And that's what we had during his tenure in congress… I only hope people see the radicalism of his approach to governance – and continue to reject it as they did in the midterms.


Intellectual Insurgent said...

There's nothing scarier than a reformed drunk, high on self-righteousness, in a position of power.

So true. He didn't cure his addictive/compulsive personality. He just changed addictions. Unfortunately, the new ones are not limited to himself and are destructive to society as a whole.

Have you ever noticed that reformed alcoholics and druggies are often religious cooks? A friend of mine laughs about an uncle of his who was a crackhead and is now a minister. Still an addict, just changed the addiction. Same with Bush.

Reign of Reason said...

That is so true II...

Compulsive personality -- simply switched the focus of compulsion.