[Vision2020] DeLay's Hypocrisy is His Worst Sin (Molly Ivins)

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Mon Apr 10 06:11:22 PDT 2006

>From today's (April 10, 2006) Spokesman Review -


DeLay's hypocrisy is his worst sin 
By Molly Ivins

April 10, 2006

In general, I'm against kicking 'em when they're down . unless really awful
people are involved. I figured Tom DeLay is so awful, plenty of people would
gang up on him and I could pass. 

Imagine my surprise when the toughest question one famous TV tough guy could
come up with was, "Do you think you invested too much in the Republican
Party?" Another inquired whether DeLay could think of any mistakes he'd
made. I waited with bated breath for the immortal, "I wish I could learn not
to work so hard," but no, he couldn't think of a single one. 
Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay first came to power promising to restore
democracy to the House of Representatives, supposedly suffering from
then-Speaker Jim Wright's tyrannical regime. Even after the Rs drove Wright
from office, however, bipartisanship was out of the question for DeLay. In
the budget fight and government shutdown of 1995, for instance, DeLay
rejected compromise and famously said, "It's time for all-out war." 

I never minded DeLay being a tough guy - it was his syrupy claims to carry
the banner for Christianity that I found offensive, as he frog-marched the
House toward being a cash-operated special-interest machine. The idea of
putting pressure on lobbyists to give only to Republicans, pressuring
lobbying firms into hiring only Republicans and then letting lobbyists sit
at the table during committee meetings where legislation was written - it
was just screaming overt corruption. 

Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich turned the U.S. House of Representatives, "the
people's House," into a pay-for-play machine for corporations. Put in enough
money, get your special tax exemption, get your earmarked government
contract, get your trade legislation and your environmental exemption, get
rid of safety regulation.

I'd like to address the idea that what DeLay did was only "payback" for the
alleged sins of Jim Wright and then-House Majority Whip Tony Coelho, that
it's "our turn" at the trough, so why not act like Dan Rostenkowski? 

I've watched enough switches of political power and use of the "payback"
excuse to realize that what the new Ins call "payback" has little to do with
whatever the new Outs used to do. It is, instead, a direct reflection -
"projection," the shrinks call it - of the ethical values of the Ins onto
the Outs. Every time you hear a misdeed justified by, "Well, they used to do
it," you can generally mark off a 50 percent to 75 percent exaggeration. 

To get a real sense of DeLay's cynicism and recklessness, forget the stuff
the press loves, like the "free golfing trip" to St. Andrew's. Instead, take
note of the following example.

The Northern Marianas Islands are a U.S. protectorate (so it can label goods
"Made in the USA") in the Pacific being used as a sort of labor gulag, with
workers imported from China and elsewhere and paid pitiful wages. Jack
Abramoff had a contract with the government of the Marianas to lobby against
stopping the flow of immigrant labor to the islands and to prevent a minimum
wage bill (mandating a level higher than the island's standard $3.05 per
hour) from getting to the floor of the House. 

The islands are home to classic sweatshops. In 1996 and 1997, Abramoff
billed the Marianas for 187 contacts with DeLay's office, including 16
meetings with DeLay. In December 1997, DeLay, his wife and their daughter
went on an Abramoff-arranged jaunt to the Marianas. DeLay brunched with the
Marianas' largest private employer, textile magnate Willie Tan. 

Tan had to settle a U.S. Labor Department lawsuit alleging workplace
violations. According to the book "The Hammer" by Lou Dubose and Jan Reid,
among the violations common on the islands is forbidding women to work when
they are pregnant, thus leading to a high abortion rate. 

Evidently, DeLay didn't have time to look into such allegations, since he
was busy playing golf and attending a dinner in his honor, sponsored by
Tan's holding company. According to the Washington Post, it was at this
dinner that DeLay called Abramoff "one of my closest and dearest friends."
He also reminded those present of his promise that no minimum wage or
immigration legislation affecting the Marianas would be passed. 

"Stand firm," he added. "Resist evil. Remember that all truth and blessings
emanate from our Creator." He then went with Tan to see a cockfight. 

This is why DeLay's professions of Christianity make me sick. He was there.
He could have talked to the workers. Instead, he chose to walk with the
powerful and do real harm to the very people Jesus mandated we especially
care for.


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho


"A bad cause will ever be supported by bad means and bad men." 

- Thomas Paine (English Writer, 1737-1809)


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