May 3, 2005 [LINK]

Novak on "DeLay's importance"

I have often expressed doubts (January 4, March 30, April 7, and April 12) about the ultimate "mean-spirited Republican," Tom DeLay of Texas, on the grounds that he seems to be doing the GOP more harm than good. Nevertheless, I keep an open mind, and on January 6 I actually complimented him. In his column yesterday (Chicago Sun-Times), Michael Novak provided some solid reasons for keeping DeLay, mainly that he has played a key behind-the-scenes role in getting important legislation passed, including the recent budget resolution. I would feel better about that if the Republicans in Congress these days weren't acting so much like Democrats in handing out budget-bleeding tax breaks to their favorite constituents. (As I keep saying, simply abolishing the corporate income tax would negate that pernicious prerogative of Congress in one fell swoop.) Anyway, the ethics charges against DeLay still seem trumped up to me, but that's par for the course in Washington these days. The recent series of "DeLay death watch" comic strips in Doonesbury were worth a chuckle, drawing an ironic if less-than-tasteful parallel to the agonizing last days of Terri Schiavo. For the moment, however, reports of DeLay's impending political death seem greatly exaggerated.