In an interview with Time, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay announced that he will resign from the House of Representatives and end his re-election bid. DeLay said he was withdrawing to avoid a "nasty" and expensive campaign. With DeLay's former deputy chief of staff, Tony C. Rudy, pleading guilty to charges of corruption and conspiracy, many aver that DeLay suspects he will be next. The Houston Chronicle has a timeline of the ethics issues plaguing "The Hammer."
Eternally snarky Wonkette thanks DeLay for the memories: "Yeah, we'll miss the old bastard—he knew how to be a majority leader, dammit. It's about taking the R.J. Reynolds corporate jet to your arraignment and not giving a shit. … It's about multiple admonishments from the House ethics committee, comparing yourself to Jesus, flashing a shit-eating grin in your mugshot, money-laundering, calling for violent retribution against activist judges, and contacting six federal agencies to trail Texas Democrats!"
DeLay's predicament is garnering only a little sympathy close to home, as Texas bloggers are already moving on and considering what this means for DeLay's Democratic challenger, Nick Lampson. At Brains and Eggs, Perry Dorrell, who's "[s]tuck in a red state with a blue state of mind," writes, "La Cucaracha Grande is nothing if not a master manipulator. He will no doubt transition seamlessly into a lucrative career lobbying Congress on behalf of various corporate and Christian causes, losing none of his influence while quintupling his income."
One of the Exterminator's Democratic constituents, Charles Kuffner at Off The Kuff, wonders what DeLay's departure means for the election in his district: "CD22 is still a Republican district. Whoever the Republican nominee is, by dint of being Republican and not Tom DeLay, will be the favorite. That said, he or she will not by any stretch be a lock. [Nick] Lampson is well-funded and has been running a lot longer than whoever DeLay's anointed successor will have been."
Evan, the Houston-based law student behind Tom DeLay vs. The World, speculates on Nick Lampson's chances at winning the seat. "The big loser in all of this is Nick Lampson. He's a pretty solid underdog to any credible Republican candidate. ... This is a solidly Republican district. Peg it conservatively at 60%, and you're behind by 20% already if you're Lampson. ... 2006 is a more favorable year for Democrats, you might say. This might be true, but it won't matter in this district."
Jason, a conservative attorney at Texas Rainmaker, sees self-sacrifice in DeLay's actions. "But [Delay] also realized that fight wasn't about constituents of District 22, but rather Delay himself. There's sure to be much speculation surrounding his decision. ... But I think it just insures a Republican keeps the seat. His opponent, Nick Lampson has already been defeated down here and was only campaigning on the 'Tom Delay is evil' mantra."
Across the nation, liberals are reveling in this news. In a post titled "Suckers," Liberal Atrios delights in DeLay's fall from grace. "I'm so happy for all of the people who donated to Tom DeLay's campaign fund, which will now be used to fund his defense." The original Daily Kos himself muses on how the Republican Party is affected by DeLay's departure. "[E]very Republican in Congress enabled DeLay. They all fed from his trough. They even tried to change House rules to allow him to continue serving as House leader while under indictment." At liberal MyDD, Matt Stoller takes a similar tack. "[T]his is the man that every Republican in congress once voted as their leader, a scared, cowardly, corrupt, surrender monkey who has now literally cut and run from his home district rather than face the music from voters."
David Donnelly at Daily DeLay, a blog founded by the Public Campaign Action Fund in October 2004 to "expose Tom DeLay as the most corrupt politician in Washington," pats his organization on the back: "[T]ogether we fought DeLay's big money agenda before it was self-evident to do so. ... If we don't go after the DeLays of the world, regardless of electoral or partisan considerations, shame on us. If we don't fight DeLay-ism, we sentence ourselves to a repeat of history."
To the right of the spectrum, reaction is more muted, but mixed. Andrew Sullivan sheds few tears over the loss of DeLay to the private sector."DeLay's skills were not retail; they were back-door: the schemes and deals and handshakes that are inextricable from effective government but not pretty in daylight. DeLay took that ruthlessness too far, got exposed, and now fairly taints the GOP's broad national image."
Some conservatives are standing behind DeLay. At the National Review, Mark Levin is in denial: "I can't predict the future. I don't know where this investigation is headed. But I am familiar with the present. I have read nothing that implicates DeLay in criminal activity. ... My opinion is informed not by surmise but what is known publicly." John H. Hinderaker, the lawyer behind at the loyally Republican Power Line writes, "It's too bad, I think. DeLay was an effective leader, albeit too liberal in recent years. It's possible, of course, that he did something wrong along the way. But there is no evidence of that in the public domain. ... As far as we can tell at the moment, DeLay appears to be yet another victim of the Democrats' politics of personal destruction—the only politics they know."
Vince Leibowitz at Capital Annex offers a helpful rundown of Federal Election Commission rules on how outgoing members of Congress can use their campaign coffers.