Time for an end to the "conservative revolution" - Page 4 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #31 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-16-2007, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Time to turn Newt leaf? Ex-ally says no
(CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Robert Novak :: Time to turn Newt leaf? Ex-ally says no)

March 15, 2007

BY ROBERT NOVAK Sun-Times Columnist

Newt Gingrich's attempted phoenix-like rise from his own political ashes to a presidential candidacy next week will run into a harsh assessment by his former House Republican colleague, Tom DeLay. The former majority leader's memoir assails Gingrich as an "ineffective" House speaker with a flawed moral compass.

Gingrich is not the only erstwhile political ally to feel DeLay's wrath. In No Retreat, No Surrender: One American's Fight, DeLay is even more critical of his predecessor as majority leader, Dick Armey, and assails President Bush for being more compassionate than conservative. Even DeLay's handpicked speaker, J. Dennis Hastert, is accused along with Gingrich and Armey of opening the door to the Democratic purge of him.

DeLay is an angry man after being driven from the leadership, from Congress and, so far, from public life by "a concerted effort to destroy me legally, financially and personally" through a 2005 indictment in Texas. DeLay's response to Democratic District Attorney Ronnie Earle is familiar. What is unusual are his claims that "pre-existing tensions I had with Gingrich and Armey" partially explain their role in kicking DeLay out of the leadership.

DeLay admits that the team of Speaker Gingrich, Majority Leader Armey and Majority Whip DeLay, empowered by the 1994 elections, "were not a cohesive team, and this hindered our ability to change the nation." He puts most blame "at Newt Gingrich's door." DeLay writes: "He knew nothing about running meetings and nothing about driving an agenda." He adds: "Nearly every other day he had a new agenda, a new direction he wanted us to take. It was impossible to follow him."

DeLay also declares "our leadership was in no moral shape to press" impeachment against President Bill Clinton. Writing well before Gingrich's admission for the first time last week, DeLay asserts: "It is now public knowledge that Newt Gingrich was having an affair with a staffer during the entire impeachment crisis."

DeLay refers to Armey as "so blinded by ambition as to be useless to the cause," a "poor leader" who had "few fresh ideas." He adds that Armey "resented anyone he thought might get in the way of his becoming speaker of the House. Beware the man drunk with ambition." His version of the failed 1997 coup attempt against Gingrich pleads innocence and accuses Armey, after realizing he would not succeed Gingrich, of telling the speaker that DeLay was plotting against him: "He had lied to cover his ambitions, betraying both his movement and his fellow leaders."

DeLay is angry that, under Democratic and news media pressure, Republicans retreated from a rule that an indicted House Republican need not resign from the leadership if indicted in a politically motivated prosecution. Gingrich and Armey (both out of Congress) opposed that rule. More significantly, to DeLay's dismay, so did his former lieutenant, Hastert.

The memoir ends DeLay's reticence in criticizing Bush. Deriding Bush's self-identification as "a compassionate conservative," DeLay asserts "he has expanded government to suit his purpose, especially in the area of education. He may be compassionate, but he is certainly no conservative in the classic sense."

DeLay has been a subject of controversy on the right. When American Conservative Union chairman David Keene attempted to make DeLay the organization's Washington operative, four members of his board resigned. Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a leading conservative reformer, describes DeLay's leadership as concentrating on redistricting, fund-raising and distribution of pork.

Notwithstanding Flake's criticisms, DeLay was the most conservative congressional leader I have witnessed in 50 years covering Capitol Hill. I rate him with Lyndon B. Johnson as a dominant legislator. But his revelation that GOP leaders did not constitute a band of brothers helps explain why 12 years of control produced much less than was anticipated.
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post #32 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-16-2007, 06:31 PM
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Good piece of analysis. Thanks.

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post #33 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-16-2007, 06:37 PM
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They had Delay on Don and Roma on 890 wlsam Chicago this morning and spoke about how the article stated above, how ineffective it was under his leadership. I was disappointed to hear that because I do like alot of what he has to say but Delay brought up alot of good points much like the article above. OH well theres plenty of time to flesh everything out before the elections.

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post #34 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-16-2007, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by FeelTheLove
Notwithstanding Flake's criticisms, DeLay was the most conservative congressional leader I have witnessed in 50 years covering Capitol Hill. I rate him with Lyndon B. Johnson as a dominant legislator. But his revelation that GOP leaders did not constitute a band of brothers helps explain why 12 years of control produced much less than was anticipated.
Yep, an opportunity lost . . . they also had to contend with a wily ole Bill Clinton, a very effective communicator (though, as you might imagine, I had no use for what he was saying, he was good at saying it). When they attempted that "congress is in charge" thing you babbled about in the other thread, he was way more effective than GW could ever dream of being at spitting in their eye, even after they were swept in by the "will of the people."

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post #35 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-17-2007, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Clinton was simply a man who knew how to hand them enough rope to hang themselves. Bush, on the other hand, wrapped all the rope around his own neck.

There is logic and precedent to how the American government works. The Republicans failed to use Congress to implement their own claims - that they were the small government, fiscal conservative party. Instead, they did the same thing that destroyed the old New Deal Democrats - used the public treasury as a means of buying votes instead of as a means of achieving idealogical objectives. Roosevelt used his Congressional majorities to achieve idealogical objectives, and won four terms followed by two more for Truman because the results worked for Americans at the time. But starting in the Johnson years, they sowed the seeds of their own destruction with "The Great Society" initiative, which was really just a huge vote buying scheme. They paid dearly for it in 1994. Enter the Republicans - if they had used their majorities to acheive their idealogical aims, which is what Gingrich tried to do, cutting spending, shrinking the welfare state, they may have laid the groundwork for a forty year reign like Roosevelt had done, even despite their battles with Clinton. Tom Delay was the seeds of their destruction. Despite his persona as some super-conservative, the man was just an old-time Democrat Ward Boss, handing out pork and payoffs to pals, and cooking up schemes like the Prescription Drug boondoogle and various defense spending crocks, that soon the Republicans simply lost their image as the "fiscal conservative" party. And rank and file Republicans defended him every step of the way. The Republicans have yet to learn the lesson: as long as they are so blinded by their own party propaganda that their leaders are infallable (when in fact they have for the most part been a bunch of squabbling ego freaks of various shade of ethical challenge) that they excuse and look the other way on all criminal and unethical behavior, they are going to lose elections. It still hasn't sunk in, as they fail to see the simple fact that Cheney was wrong to go after Plame's wife, that Tom Delay was a crook, that Bush is a bare-faced liar, that Libby is a simple perjouous felon found guilty by a jury, that Coulter is a libelous slanderer - there is no end to the fact they as a whole have to realize they have been had, and had by a faction that hijacked a highly principled and decent political movement founded by Reagan, a movement that often attracted the votes of Democrats and independents. The climax of all of it was the incredible spectacle of Dennis Hastert trying to dodge Foley's attempted child molestations by trying to blame it on the Democrats. Spin replaces idealogy. The real solution is to somehow spin the problem some way, some how, that they can dodge the blame - to they point they seem to no longer accept responsibilty for anything. That is what the voters see.

Couple this with Bush's own fiscal mismanagement, and the Republican reign is now in total collapse as their entire reason d'etre collapses. If they had simply stuck to their idealogical aims, waiting out Clinton and then becoming tight-wad fiscal managers under a Republican president who would veto anything that snuck through, hell, I might even have voted for them. But instead, they have become the party of some alternate reality, that is now in total disconnect with their real natural base - fiscally conservative middle class voters and upper class businessmen, left only the bases they thought were important, right wing nut jobs and religious kooks. As I look at the ascension of Guiliani, McCain and Hagel, I cannot help but see the utter irony that the Republicans seem about to become some new flavor of Democrat, while the conservatives are being shunted to the side.

Last edited by FeelTheLove; 03-17-2007 at 03:43 PM.
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