SCRIPTURE READING FOR THE DAY:
"Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice; who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing, and does not give him his wages; who says, 'I will build myself a great house with spacious upper rooms,' and cuts out windows for it, paneling it with cedar and painting it with vermilion. Do you think you are a king because you compete in cedar?" Jeremiah 22:13-15
Tom DeLay thinks he's king. And he is ... King of the Pharisees, a.k.a., the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Yesterday, DeLay engineered a voice vote behind closed doors (we think those doors were padlocked as well) in the Republican House caucus to exempt himself from an 11-year-old rule that says "Thou shalt not get indicted for crimes and continue to lord it over your un-indicted fellow Republicans."
Ronnie Earle, the district attorney in Travis County, Tex., which includes Austin, won indictments earlier this year against three political associates of Mr. DeLay. Despite the indictments of his associates, Mr. DeLay has not been called to testify, and Mr. Earle has not said whether the congressman is a target. But guilt will out, and Mr. DeLay is acting like a guilty man in clear anticipation of being indicted. His main line of defense: Mr. Earle is a ... a ... Democrat, natch! A godless, communist, probably homosexual DEMOCRAT. 'Nuff said.
But just to be on the safe side, we'll also change these House rules, 'cause me and my best buds know what's right. Not that we're above the criminal law, mind you, but just temporarily beyond its reach as practiced by a DEMOCRAT.
By "voice vote," DeLay and his cronies accomplished this. You know what THAT means, O my brethren? That means railroad. That means put the hammer down. It's hard to get any accuracy from "behind closed doors," what exactly that voice vote might have sounded like when they called for the "nays," but according to Representative Henry Bonilla of Texas, who sponsored the rule change on DeLay's behalf, "only a handful of members had opposed it." (Account taken from the NYTimes.) Weak little minor chorus of nays?
One whose NO rang loudly was Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, who was quoted in the Times: "This is a mistake." When the Republicans gained control of the House in the elections of 1994, Shays added, "we were going to be different."
Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a group that follows campaign finance issues, said: "With this decision, we have gone from DeLay being judged by his peers to DeLay being judged by his buddies. It's an absurd and ludicrous new rule and an affront to the American people."
But will the People notice this House built of unrighteousness? They notice so little these days.