DeLay legacy already determined despite outcome of legal issues

Editorial

Seen from a liberty perspective of the American people, Rep. Tom DeLay’s career was a failure. The Texas Republican, undergoing a trial for alleged ethics violations, announced this week that he would not seek re-election this fall.

There’s no doubt Rep. DeLay is a talented, tough political infighter. He is a major reason Republicans have won, and held, the House for almost 12 years now. Known as “the Hammer” for his tough style, last fall he stepped down from his post as majority leader — the second-highest post in the House — “as part of an investigation into the allegedly illegal use of funds for state legislative races,” The Associated Press reported.

Even his announcement Tuesday was played, by him, as motivated by Republican loyalties. His re-election race had become bogged down in his ethics troubles, precipitating national backing for Democratic challenger Nick Lampson.
“As difficult as this decision has been for me, it’s not going to be a great day for liberal Democrats, either,” Rep. Delay announced. “My loyalty to the Republican Party, indeed my love for the Republican Party, has played no small part in this decision.”

But what, exactly, has he accomplished? He was part of the Republican “revolution” that took over Congress after the 1994 election, proclaiming a “Contract With America” that promised smaller, more-responsive, more-accountable government. It was going to put an end to 40 years of Democratic dominance that had brought record budget deficits, new federal agencies and massive controls on the American people.

Instead, the GOP-led Congress has generated record deficits, including that for the budget for fiscal 2007 beginning Oct. 1, expected to approach $500 billion. The GOP-led Congress last month jacked up the national debt limit to $9 trillion — that’s with a “t.” That’s $30,000 of debt for every person in America.

Yet, last Sept. 13 Rep. DeLay had the gall to say, “Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we’ve pared it (the federal budget) down pretty good.” When the Republicans took over Congress in 1994, the federal budget was “only” $1.46 trillion. For fiscal 2007, it’s expected to be about $2.8 trillion, or almost twice as much.

And let’s not forget the USA Patriot Act’s intrusions into Americans’ lives, such as spying without a warrant, to cite just one increase in federal power that has occurred under Rep. DeLay’s tenure of “small-government” Republican leadership. His Web site on March 7 quoted him as saying that “it was an honor to be on the House floor tonight casting my vote” for the unpatriotic act.

A court trial will determine his guilt or innocence on the corruption allegations. His legislative legacy of massive spending, debt and big government has already been determined.