Tuesday, April 04, 2006

National: Tommy, We Hardly Knew Ye

Tom DeLay is gone. Now I know why I have had a sort of "empty" feeling inside all day.

All these months he's been telling his supporters that there is no substance to the charges against him, the whole thing is politically motivated, and he'll fight on til he's vindicated. And now he just walks away?

Introducing DeLay to the "War on Christians and the Values Voter in 2006" conference last month in Washington, "patriot pastor" Rick Scarborough said: "I believe the most damaging thing Tom DeLay has done in his life is take his faith seriously in the public office, which made him a target of all those who despise the goals of Christ."

But that's not what they indicted Tom for, Pastor Rick, is it? No, Tom was not indicted for "taking his faith seriously in the public office," he was indicted for "conspiracy, money laundering, and criminal violations of campaign finance laws."

I hope Pastor Rick mentioned these specifics when introducing Tom to his audience of all-too-believing Christians--but I doubt it. It seems as if one of the underlying messages sold at the "War on Christians and the Values Voter in 2006" was that Tom DeLay's indictment is just one more sign that the world is going to come to an end, and soon. No need to complicate that message by introducing mundane facts about criminal law--just tell them that Tom is a Christian martyr, and then move on to "how the homosexuals are taking over America."

DeLay said today that his involvement in the Jack Abramoff corruption case had nothing to do with his decision to give up his congressional career. Do you believe him? (Laughter.)

Abramoff and two of DeLay's former aides pleaded guilty in a corruption probe and are now cooperating with prosecutors. I will "go out on a limb" here and submit to you that the prospect of listening to their Tom-related testimony over the next few months of his political campaign was "indeed a factor" in Tom's latest "big career decision."

So Tom is dropping out, throwin' in the towel, headin' for the showers. Though he still says he's innocent, Tom has chosen not to fight the good fight.

The eternal question: what would Jesus do? If there's one thing we all agree on about Jesus, it's that he didn't give up when he was picked up by "the Man." Jesus was a stand-up guy; he didn't skip out, he stuck around and faced the music even though he knew he was innocent.

DeLay comes off a bit shabby by comparison, doesn't he? Especially since he's always claimed victim status. Tom regularly insisted that he was being persecuted because of his loud and proud posturing as a pseudo-Christian statesman--he was claiming that years before he was indicted; so why quit now, when the chips are finally down? Throwing away your office rather than fighting for looks a hell of lot like an admission of guilt.

What sort of moral lesson does that impart to aspiring pseudo-Christian politicians? When going gets tough--run away? That's a lot more like Nixon than Christ.

Not too inspirational, Tom. Tough to make THAT storyline into an original TV movie for the Christian Broadcasting Network. But I'm sure the pseudo-Christian media will figure out a better way to spin it; after all, that's why they get the big money.

So don't worry about Tom. Even if he doesn't beat the rap he has a lucrative career in front of him in the private sector, posing as a pseudo-Christian martyr. Remember Watergate felon Charles Colson, Tom! He's raking it in these days, giving out moral advice! You, too, can make BIG BUCKS by starting your own prison ministry!


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