We forget what a different world it is on Capitol Hill.
The Tom DeLay drumbeat goes on. So desperate are the New York Times and Washington Post for DeLay copy that they have begun recycling old stories on their front pages. Michael Isikoff is reduced to reporting hearsay from Jack Abramoff’s lunches. And Old Unreliable, Rep. Chris Shays, has predictably called for DeLay’s ouster, making him once again a harbinger for the media of “dissension in the GOP ranks.” There’s little sign that the Majority Leader’s agony will end soon.
Conservatives must be willing to make cold-blooded calculations about their leaders, since the cause is bigger than any one man. But DeLay has not committed any crimes or ethics violations that merit his ouster. Nor has his effectiveness been so diminished that the Republican caucus would be better off without him — even if he has sustained damage from the drip-drip of allegations against him.
The chief reason the Democrats and the press are ganging up on DeLay is obvious: He has been an effective leader of the House Republican majority, and they hope to do damage to the GOP caucus and agenda by taking him out, on the model of former Speaker Newt Gingrich.