Friday night in Houston, The Big Buy: Tom DeLay's Stolen Congress, opened to a warm welcome in a district that soon will see the hammer no more. The film, which chronicles the exploits of Bush's former henchman in the House's efforts to achieve electoral supremacy at any cost, caught the attention of the media and viewers throughout Texas.
Congressman DeLay announced that he had not seen the film, but his lawyer said he'd be using that same unseen film as evidence in poor Tom's trial later this summer. Dick DeGuerin, the ever vigilant lawyer, believes that the film may demonstrate that Mr. DeLay's prosecutor was unfair because he did not tell Mr. DeLay that he was under investigation. I'm not a lawyer, but that's a pretty shabby defense. It'd be sort of like Saddam Hussein saying that when he gassed the Kurds in 1991, he did not know he'd be put on trial later on. If the best Mr. DeGuerin can do is complain that his client did not know he was being watched while he bribed the Texas legislature, well, Houston, we have a problem. I can't wait to see what the President says when Saddam uses the DeLay defense.
The facts are simple: Tom DeLay was determined to keep power in the worst way, and he did. He routed corporate contributions through his various political action committees back to Texas in ways that would impress even Ken Lay. The only problem is that corporations may not contribute to Texas politicians. Period. Full stop. While I know that Mr. DeLay has quit some of his endeavors before (okay, he got tired of killing bugs and decided instead to plant them), I cannot imagine that he'd resign first from the position of Majority Leader and then from Congress just because he's tired of wielding a gavel.
Mr. DeLay must think that by walking out, we'll forget. But we won't. Tom DeLay is a walking bill board for public financing of elections. If we remove the ambiguity, the temptation to launder money (the only kind Mr. DeLay would think is clean) by making private money verboten in public campaigns, the future Tom DeLays and Duke Cunninghams and for that matter William Jeffersons, will have little room to maneuver. They will only be able to steal and bribe out right. Kiting checks and diverting funds through Byzantine laundromats will be impossible.
27 June 2006 is national Clean Money Day. Dozens of organizations will host hundreds of house parties across the nation to watch The Big Buy and to demand that America's leaders do the unusual: lead. Tom DeLay remains a symbol of what we do not want and what we must not have again.
The Big Buy tells the story of the Big Guy. He's going, but only if we take out his way of doing business do we assure that he's gone.