It takes a special kind of man to present himself as holier than thou even as he slips deeper into the slime. So there was Tom DeLay, making a special post-resignation announcement appearance on CBN with Pat Robertson, letting us know that he'd come to the decision to resign after seeking spiritual guidance through fasting. Praise the Lord -- even at the most shameful moment of a shame-filled career the sinner from Sugar Land had to parade his moral superiority. Leave old-school Christian contrition for lesser souls, right Tom?
Somehow I'm not convinced the decision to quit required the input of the Almighty and an empty belly. The recent guilty plea by former DeLay deputy chief of staff Tony Rudy was probably enough of a sign. But leave it to DeLay to try to turn his ignominy into a pious act, while conveniently buttressing the GOP's god-fearing base. Holy Hammer -- it's a resignation two-fer!
Watching DeLay's unrepentant performance, I couldn't help but notice how bloated he looked. I wonder just how long his guidance-seeking fast was. He didn't look like a man who had gone without for very long. Indeed, he looked like a man who had just polished off a Grand Slam Breakfast at Denny's.
Apparently it was a very fast fast. I suppose it didn't take very long for The Man Upstairs to get back to him: "Quit now, you putz!"
I've got the perfect going-away present for Tom DeLay: a dictionary. He obviously needs one. Desperately.
The man lives in an alternative universe when it comes to the meaning of words. How else to explain the cheery language he used to describe his current state of mind in this morning's address to his constituents? "I am proud of the past," he said. "I am at peace with the present. And I am excited about the future."
Really? Ignominiously slinking off the political stage leaves him feeling "proud," "excited," and "at peace"? If those are the adjectives he uses when announcing bad news, what's left for good news?
Maybe at the next speech, he can up the word ante and tell us: "I am exultant that my former staffers who have pled guilty to running a mini-crime ring out of my office haven't publicly pointed the finger at me -- yet. And I am blissed out at the prospect of my upcoming money laundering trial."
The GOP's culture of corruption apparently includes the corruption of the English language.
For further evidence, look at the verbal smooch House Majority Leader John Boehner planted on the backside of the man he replaced (a replacement that followed said man's post-indictment ouster): "He has served our nation with integrity and honor." Isn't this a more appropriate reaction to DeLay's being nominated for the Nobel Prize than to his shameful exit from the political stage?
Integrity? Honor?? Tom DeLay??? Better make that two dictionaries. And a thesaurus.
Final language note: What are we to make of DeLay's claim that he is "looking forward to being liberated outside the House, doing whatever I can to unify the conservative cause"? Is he set to burn his bra and, "liberated" from those pesky House ethics rules, really let loose strong-arming lobbyists into paying for his golf trips? I am Hammer, hear me roar.
Wondering why Tom DeLay is so eager to pull the plug on his political career, calling it quits "sometime before mid-June"?
As is so often the case, the answer can be found by following the money.
In this morning's Washington Post, R. Jeffery Smith reports that under federal election rules DeLay is permitted to "convert any or all of the remaining funds from his reelection campaign to his legal expenses, whether or not he resigns, is indicted or loses the election. Election lawyers say one advantage of bowing out of the election now is that the campaign cash can be converted to pay legal bills immediately, instead of being drained in the course of a bid to stay in office."
Now that's what I call a money graph!
Lending credence to "the money made him do it" theory is the Hammer himself, who said of his sudden resignation: "I think I could have won this seat but it would have been nasty. It would have cost a fortune to do it."
A fortune he apparently thinks would be better spent on his pending money-laundering trial and on the federal conspiracy charges that could be heading his way. Take note: as of February 15th, DeLay had close to $1.3 million squirreled away in his campaign war chest -- 1.3 million reasons for moving out of the House sooner than later.
In his announcement, he said that following his resignation he plans "to begin focusing on the next phase of my life as a private citizen."
It looks like DeLay believes a big part of that next phase will include lots of billable time spent sitting next to lawyers.