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ISSUE 119 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/14/2005

Hammering Republicans

By Maura De Chant
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 14, 2005

Tom DeLay got smacked. That’s really the only way to put it. The House majority leader, known to Washington insiders as “The Hammer,” was indicted by a grand jury in Texas for illegal activities during a campaign, including money laundering.

DeLay spends every waking moment blustering that the charges are a “baseless” result of a vast left-wing conspiracy to bring him down. However, he hasn’t offered one shred of proof that Mr. Earle, the district attorney who brought about the grand jury which indicted him, actually conspired with Democratic leadership.

In fact, Earle’s record works against DeLay, as 12 of the 15 public officials he has prosecuted have been Democrats. Besides, Earle only convened the grand jury – 12 jurors voted to indict DeLay, not one man on a Republican safari.

DeLay’s troubles involve an election committee he founded in Texas. The committee accepted money from corporations and included that money in a donation to the Republican National Committee, which then routed the money back to Texas to aid congressional candidates.

While not nearly as sexy as a president sleeping with an intern, this was illegal, and DeLay knew it. According to Time magazine, if DeLay is convicted, he faces up to two years in prison and a fine of $100,000.

Due to ethics guidelines, DeLay was forced to step down from his role as majority leader when the indictments were announced. Although DeLay continues to tell anyone who will listen that the charges are worthless, it is unlikely he will regain his position any time soon.

This could not come at a worse time for Republicans. Senate majority leader Bill Frist is also facing an investigation. Eyebrows were raised when Frist sold all of his stock in a company his family founded shortly before a poor earnings report was made public.

And, while Frist was doing his best impression of Martha Stewart, a well-known conservative lobbyist was under fire for cheating a group of Indian tribes out of $66 million while they were his clients.

In addition, it was recently revealed that Dick Cheney’s chief of staff was the leak who named a covert CIA agent in a pathetic and Machiavellian attempt to discredit her husband.

Combine this with President Bush’s sluggish response to Katrina and laughable attempts at urging the nation to be better “conservers,” skyrocketing gas prices, disasters in Iraq, and mayhem in Afghanistan – and it has really been an awful summer to be a Republican.

What happened to the new Republican party that swept to power in 1994, claiming a “Contract with America” and promising smaller, cleaner, more efficient government? Where did the party of personal responsibility and accountability disappear to?

The inflated sense of righteousness bred of their total control of the government has caused the world to come crashing down around their ears. DeLay has been exposed as the crook he’s always been, and Frist’s pedestal is wobbling.

President Bush continues to be besieged by low poll numbers, and has become more of a caricature of himself than an actual leader. High on power and buoyed by hubris, the Republican party has allowed corruption to run rampant and their message to be hijacked by neoconservatives and fundamentalists. Perhaps it’s time for the American people to stand up and take back their country.

Staff writer Maura De Chant is a junior from West Bend, Wis. She majors in English and history.

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