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Thursday, April 14, 2005

What should become of Tom Delay?

I don't have the foggiest idea. And I'm guessing most of my readers don't either since none of use really know what happened.

Let me say up front that I haven't followed the Delay story as much as I probably should. Even though I often discuss politics here, I try to refrain from saying a lot about issues I don't know much about. But I will make a few comments about Tom Delay from what I have heard so far.

If the accusations are true, he should resign. And I hope that Republicans will be the first to call for his resignation should he be found guilty. While I appreciate the sentiment of many people and conservative groups saying that they believe in Delay's innocence, I'm not sure how any of them can say that with certainty.

What I do find strange though is that no official charges have been filed against Delay. It begs the question, why are we trying this guy in the court of public opinion rather than by the proper channels? If it turns out that Delay is innocent of these charges, there should be consequences for those making the charges. I actually feel that this is an area lacking in our judicial system; that people can make baseless charges against innocent people and face no repercussions. If Michael Jackson is found innocent there should be repercussions against the family accusing him.

I also find it strange that two of the Democrats who are accusing Delay have had some ethics problems similar to those that Delay is accused of.

Harry Reid has had some ethics problems that have been mostly ignored even though the LA Times wrote a pretty significant piece on the issue a couple of year ago. I don't have any idea whether any of the charges against Reid were true but I don't recall it being a huge issue when this LA Times piece came out. This of course has nothing to do with Delay's guilt or innocence yet it certainly highlights possible hypocrisy.

One of the charges against Delay involves illegal use of campaign funds. Yet one of Delay's accusers, Nancy Pelosi, has already had one of her PACs convicted of illegal campaign contributions and fined $21,000. Recently Pelosi said:
"Tom DeLay's embarrassment springs from his own behavior and has nothing to do with the Democrats."
While Delay's behavior should certainly be judged, shouldn't all senators be held to high standards?

Unfortunately much of this behavior undermines what little trust Americans have in our leaders. I hate to be cynical about this but I think that this feeds the idea that "well, they are all a bunch of unethical wealthy priviledged politicians so what should we expect". There is a growing sense that everyone cheats or is unethical in order to get ahead in life.

I think we should expect more.

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