Wednesday, September 28, 2005

If You Strike the King, You Better Kill Him

Today Ronnie Earl finally indicted Tom Delay on charges of conspiracy to commit campaign finance fraud in the Texas TRMPAC case.

A couple of quick points about this:

One, Ronnie Earle definitely has it out for Delay. However, it's less of a partisan vendetta than a personal one - he and Delay just hate each other. Ronnie Earle is actually something of a pseudodemocrat, like a lot of Democratic attorney generals. It's hard to get elected AG on a social justice platform.

Two, now that Earle has secured this indictment, he is going to do absolutely everything in his power to bring down Delay. He has to; Delay is too powerful. As the saying goes, if you strike the king, you must kill him. That goes double for the King of Crooks.

Three, I would stop short of drawing the conclusion from #2 that Earle has an ironclad case against Delay. Conspiracy cases are hard to prove, and given #1 above, I think even if Earle has a weak case he wants to see it through to the end because he wants Delay very badly.

Four, this is a very serious charge and since there is no one above Delay that he can roll over on, there is a real possibility that if Delay is convicted, he will do actual prison time. That will be awesome.

Five, the conspiracy count is not necessarily the only one Delay will face. Other charges can always be added, up to a certain point in the process. The reason that's significant is that there is a very wide range of Delay's conduct that could be potentially criminal, and the more charges you tack on, the greater the chances that something will stick.

Bottom line, this is a critical factor, possibly THE critical factor, in the 2006 presidential elections. As I argued in King of Crooks, the Democrats MUST work hard to portray Delay not as a "bad apple," but as just a symptom of an ethical rot that has shaken the foundations of our republican system of government.

Our current leadership probably isn't up to the job, but there's a real opportunity here, just as there was in 2004, for some new leaders to emerge and take back the legislature just as the Gingrich Republicans did in 1994. If the Dems can recapture the Senate in 2006 (a moderate long shot) or take back the House (possibly more likely than people think; hope to detail why in a later post), we may be able to stop the bleeding on the budget.

Here's hoping.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

What's up with the deleted comments on this site recently? Are these spam, or abusive?

Earle has certainly taken his sweet time coming to this point. One might think that whatever piece he thought he was missing a few months back has finally fallen into place. Maybe he has negotiated deals with those who used to serve DeLay (and who now might testify against him) or maybe something else has come out.

I suppose I could hope for a tearful, Jimmy Swaggart, come back to Jesus confession on the part of Delay, (right before he heads off to the clink) but I'm not holding my breath.

Adam P. Short said...

I think that's exactly what happened. TRMPAC, the political action committee itself, was indicted about three weeks ago, so I assume someone who was being questioned in conneciton with that indictment rolled over on old Tom.

BTW the deleted comments are all spam. Mostly offering golf lessons, oddly enough.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, Ronnie Earl went down this road with Kay Bailey Hutchison just weeks after she was elected to the Senate for the first time.

Earl spent a lot of taxpayer money investigating charges made by a disgruntled former employee of the State Treasury Department, which Hutchison oversaw before becoming Senator.

When the first day of trial came, Earl knew he didn't have a case so he just refused to make his opening statement. It was really quite embarrasing for him! The judge issued a directed verdict of Not Guilty before lunch on the first day of trial.

Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to see DeLay on his way out. I hope the GOP Caucus permanently replace him as Majority Leader. Still, I will be watching Ronnie Earl's performance. I won't be surprised if he self-destructs again this time if things don't go his way.

Adam P. Short said...

Funny, except among right-wing nuts, Earle seems to have a very good reputation. I can't find any reference to his supposedly erratic courtroom behavior in a reputable news source. In fact you are the only person who seems to know about it, as far as I can tell.

Care to back up your Rovian water-carrying?