11/21/2004

In solidifying its power, the GOP is loosening its ethics.

Revolution In Reverse (washingtonpost.com)

And I want to say to you bluntly: You live today with the most corrupt congressional leadership we have seen in the United States in the 20th century. You have to go back to the Gilded Age of the 1870s and 1880s to have anything comparable that we've lived through.'

Gosh, those Democrats must be really bitter about this year's elections to say stuff like that. Isn't it time to put aside partisan invective?

But however appropriate that ringing indictment may seem to the moment, it did not issue from any Democrat this week. The words were spoken in February 1992 by a House Republican named Newt Gingrich. Gingrich was then building the momentum that led to the historic Republican takeover of Congress two years later. The GOP modestly called what it was up to a "revolution."

As the old rock song taught us: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

What's surprising is how shameless House Republicans were on Wednesday in casting aside their 11-year-old rule requiring a member of their leadership to step aside temporarily if he or she comes under indictment.

The repeal might be called the Tom DeLay Protection Act of 2004. DeLay, the House majority leader, is under investigation by Ronnie Earle, the district attorney in Texas's Travis County. Earle, who is a Democrat, is investigating charges that corporate money was used illegally to help Republicans win Texas legislative races in 2002. Republican victories that year paved the way for changes in the state's congressional district lines that helped Republicans win additional U.S. House seats in Texas this year, solidifying their hold on power.

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