SocraticGadfly: 1/1/06 - 1/8/06

January 07, 2006

Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, Tom

The Hammer, Tom DeLay, faced up to the Jack Abramoff beatdown today and announced he would step aside as House Majority Leader.

“Today I have asked Speaker (Dennis) Hastert to convene our conference for the purpose of electing a new majority leader,” DeLay, a close ally of President George W. Bush and one of the most powerful conservatives in Congress, said in a letter to House Republican leaders.

Well, we can still count on the Hammer for comic relief, as he goes on to show in the letter:
“In 21 years in Congress I have always acted in an ethical manner ... and time once again will bear out that truth.”

Of course, he’s not been that chastened yet. DeLay said he was still running for reelection. Well, maybe that door will start swinging soon enough.

Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt, who sometimes makes DeLay look tame, is a candidate to take the job on permanently. So is somewhat more civil conservative Ohio Republican John Boehner. No word on if any allegedly “moderate” Republicans will run.

Nor has Speaker Dennis Hastert tipped his hand as to whom he would like to see in the position.

Meanwhile, here’s a few things to parse from the Hammer’s press conference:

But my first job has always been and it will remain to represent the people of the 22nd district. I have worked very hard to meet their needs and serve their values in Washington. Those needs and values will now best be served by allowing House Republicans to set a new course and to unite behind a new and focused leader.

Translation: This controversy is becoming too distracting. Even I recognize, bullheaded as I am, that it threatens my chance for reelection.
I will continue to serve my constituents by reclaiming my seat on the appropriations committee from which I will work to meet the needs of the 22nd district, including improved transportation infrastructure, homeland security and a fully funded space program.
Translation: I will therefore concentrate on bringing home massive amounts of pork between now and November to grease the skids of my reelection campaign.

January 02, 2006

Bush to Iraq: “Sorry, you’re screwed”

That’s the bottom line of the Guardian story that Bush is not going to ask Congress for more Iraqi reconstruction money.

If you read the story, you’ll note he’s not asking for an audit of Halliburton or other contractors.

And, apparently, he doesn’t believe in Colin Powell’s infamous, and worthless, “Pottery Barn” rule either.

Oh, and he expects this to help the “war” against al-Qaeda in what way? Bin Laden couldn’t ask for a better recruiting tool.

January 01, 2006

The Dallas Morning News starts the year on a lame-o op-ed note

For its “Texan of the Year,” The Dallas Morning News named the city of Houston.

Yes, Houston did some very good things in helping Katrina victims, etc.

But, the following grafs make me think the choice was also designed to take a deliberate slab at Dallas:
Bigger than Katrina. Bigger than Texas. Houston continues to perform a national service by modeling the virtues of local initiative and challenging Washington's missteps – most recently FEMA's decision to end the housing voucher program several months early, on March 1. Mr. White has joined that battle with the same energy he has shown throughout the crisis.

One of the latest Houston initiatives is a program that reflects the city's entrepreneurial pedigree: The Greater Houston Partnership is offering help to hurricane survivors who want to rebuild their businesses in their new hometown.

With the new year comes Houston's Phase III. So few empty apartments exist in Houston that Mr. White recently was forced to declare the city full. Now, attention shifts to the lives under the roofs, to helping guests become integral members of the community. Whatever challenges arise, Mr. White, Judge Eckels and others insist that they will succeed.

Well, to the degree that Dallas is too dysfunctional to do that, the News has its share of blame to shoulder. Opposing the original strong-mayor proposition, then supporting the weaker one that would have only increased mayor-council deadlock over control of the city manager is 2005 Example Numero Uno of that. Let’s see if the Snooze can’t do better in 2006 after a stumbling start on the editorial page.