« Sunni Side of the Street | Main | I'm not wild about Harriet »

September 29, 2005

Kick that Field Goal, Charlie Brown!

I admit it, I'm a sucker for schadenfreude. I love to see my enemies crushed and driven before me, and to hear the lamentations of their significant others. I'm not proud of this, but nobody is without sin and at least my guilty pleasure is more harmless than most.

But to quote a famous bowler, "Better than the deed, better than the memory... the moment of anticipation!" So here we go... my friends over at Democratic Underground are lining up, eyes on the football, and getting ready for the charge. As always, they will be taken completely by surprise when Lucy yanks the football away, and loud will be their cries as they land on their collective backsides.

The particular setup for bitter disappointment this time is the indictment of Tom Delay. Let's go to the source:

DeLay won't recover from this

His best chance to even begin to try to clear himself is next year and that will be well into the midterm elections campaign.


Too Much Baggage

The party itself will beg DeLay not to run. If he wins, he'll still be convicted of a felony. In fact, he faces a much stiffer sentence if he makes trouble.

Thw question is whether Earle has the goods on him, and of course he does.


I'd Agree. He's Toast

I saw the video of the prosecutor making the announcement. No way is Ronnie Earle on a witch hunt. Betcha DeLay pleads guilty to stay out of prison
(ed note: really? I'll take you up on that. If you're serious, drop me a line.)

And then there's this charming post, titled Who giggled all day because of the DeLay Indictment?

Ah, this is gonna be great.

The evidence seems strongly to suggest that the actions of TRMPAC were not illegal... the very vague indictment notwithstanding. Not only has it not been proven (and been strenuously denied by the defendant) that a conspiracy existed, but there is nothing wrong with conspiring to do something legal. Nope, I don't think that Earle's conspiracy theory is gonna fly.

Check this out: it's the nonpartisan group Follow The Money's report of a six-year study of Texas campaign finance. Included is this gem:

THE SOFT-MONEY SHUFFLE

National party contributions to Texas state committees increased dramatically over the three
election cycles. These committees gave just $2.3 million in 1998, $5.2 million in 2000 and $16.3
million in 2002. The Texas Democratic Party received the bulk of the 2002 contributions, taking
in $11 million to the GOP's $5.2 million.

The Institute found eight trades of soft money for hard money, all between the Democratic
National Committee and the Texas Democratic Party.
In two trades in 1998, the DNC sent
$172,500 in soft money to Texas, and the state party sent back $150,000 in hard money. In two
trades in 2000, the DNC sent $150,000 of soft money and received $125,000 in hard money. And
over a series of four trades in 2002, the DNC gave the state party $255,000 in soft money, and the Texas Democratic Party sent $225,000 in hard money to the DNC.

This is exactly the behavior of which TRMPAC is accused. I do not mention this to make the argument "see, the Democrats do it too"... far from it! I mention this as evidence that the practice was legal under the Texas Code and was commonplace. Perhaps it's a loophole... but if it is, it's up to the Legislature to close it, not up to a prosecutor to indict people for nonexistent offenses.

I doubt this will make it to trial. I think it's very likely that either Earle will drop the charge when DeLay's defense team pushes for a speedy trial, or that the judge will toss the indictment. And I am almost literally drooling with anticipation as I envision the DU response. Will they blame the judge for being an incompetent Republican? Will they claim that GOP operatives somehow got to Earle and threatened him? Will they say that the Bush administration somehow exerted unfair (sinister, evil, etc.) influence on the justice system?

My money's on "all of the above".

September 29, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834559cb569e200d8346e644453ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Kick that Field Goal, Charlie Brown!:

Comments

I hate to disappoint you but it really isn't going to go that well.

This obvious politically motivated completely unethical horseshit has already accomplished what they need. They had him removed.

The case will fall apart. They'll claim the "vast right wing conspiracy" beat the charge. They'll scream bloody murder about that lie, just as they do with "selected not elected," "George Bush doesn't like black people," and everything from Farenheit 9/11. Those kind of lies nearly got a gold-digging career politician and CONFESSED war criminal elected.

With Bush's decreasing ability to lead, continued mishandling of Iraq, inaction with the borders and failure to do anything about oil prices, they don't need much.

I hope you're right.

Posted by: odietamo | Sep 29, 2005 8:30:42 PM


...And for the sake of argument, what will your reaction be if DeLay is convicted?

Posted by: Hobospider | Sep 30, 2005 8:54:28 AM

I hate to disappoint you but it really isn't going to go that well.

This obvious politically motivated completely unethical horseshit has already accomplished what they need. They had him removed.

Removed from what? The Majority Leader is essentially a figurehead... sure, he gets a larger salary, but other than that, he pretty much is the expression of the will of the party leadership. I'm sure DeLay will continue to caucus with that leadership, I'm sure he'll continue to have the same amount of influence with it, and more to the point, I'm sure that this will serve to draw the Republicans closer together, to close ranks and be more unified than they've been in a long time.

...And for the sake of argument, what will your reaction be if DeLay is convicted?


Surprise, for starters, unless there's a lot of evidence we don't know about yet.


See, here's where the equivalence argument you're building up to making falls apart. Objectively, there isn't enough evidence available to us to convict DeLay beyond a reasonable doubt. Presumably the prosecutor has evidence he hasn't made public yet (I certainly hope so for his sake, else he should worry about being brought up on misconduct charges of his own), and once that evidence is made known, it may suffice to convince me of DeLay's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That's the difference between Us and Them... They have already convicted DeLay in their own minds, without even remotely close to sufficient evidence, and so an acquittal (or, much more likely, a dismissal) will be viewed by Them as a horrible miscarriage of justice. DeLay has led Texas Republicans to stunning victories, and that's enough in Their minds to convict him of any offense it is possible to dream up.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | Sep 30, 2005 9:30:58 AM

Equivalence argument? I assume that wasn't addressed to me since I was just asking for your opinion, not forming an argument. You made a point of saying how delicious it would be if the case was dismissed. I was curious about how you would feel if it went the other way. You have to admit that is a possibility.

As for evidence, it is my understanding that evidence doesn't have to be disclosed in Texas indictments. That would explain why you haven't seen enough to justify the indictment. Clearly there was enough to convince the grand jury of a crime however since they handed down the indictment.

For a fascinating article on the grand jury see: Grand jury foreman defends DeLay indictment

A good quote from the jury forman on DeLay:

"I like his aggressiveness and everything, and I had nothing against the House majority man, but I felt that we had enough evidence, not only me, but the other grand jury members"

I'll be interested in how this plays out, but I'm not making any assumptions at this point, regardless of my personal distaste for DeLay's brand of politics.

Posted by: Hobospider | Sep 30, 2005 7:12:48 PM

Of course I admit that conviction is a possibility. I don't think it's likely, but we'll see.

On evidence, the indictment is thin even by the standards for an indictment (which are thin indeed.) I mean, I'd expect to see at least a date when this sinister conspiracy took place or something.

The cliche goes that a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, and it's not without basis in fact. The "probable cause" standard is used for handing down indictments, and only 9 of the 12 grand jurors must vote to indict. Evidence is presented by the prosecutor only, and the prosecutor's witnesses are not cross-examined. Although it occasionally happens that a grand jury will "no-bill" a potential defendant the prosecutor asks them to indict, it's very rare.

What this means, in essence, is that the grand jury for the most part does the will of the prosecutor. It is amusing, though, to watch DU defend the indictment by pointing out that it was handed down by a grand jury and not by a Democratic partisan prosecutor. Funny how they didn't give the same benefit of the doubt to the grand jury presided over by Kenneth Starr.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | Oct 1, 2005 7:38:42 AM

LOL! So much certainty that Delay was home free. And then came the 2nd indictment. Hilarious.

TNO

Posted by: The Night Owl | Oct 4, 2005 4:16:39 PM

In the first place, sorry, where was the certainty that DeLay was home free?

In the second place, yeah right. If an obviously politically-motivated prosecutor gets an indictment, that doesn't mean DeLay is guilty. But if the same obviously politically-motivated prosecutor gets a second indictment... whoa! He's toast!

Posted by: Voice of Reason | Oct 4, 2005 6:40:56 PM

"In the first place, sorry, where was the certainty that DeLay was home free?"

I love how you hardcore Republicans always backpedal.

Your belief that Lucy will move the football right before Charlie Brown can kick it sure sounds like certainty to me. I mean, did Lucy ever let Brown kick the ball?

"In the second place, yeah right. If an obviously politically-motivated prosecutor gets an indictment, that doesn't mean DeLay is guilty. But if the same obviously politically-motivated prosecutor gets a second indictment... whoa! He's toast!"

Yep. One has to wonder how many grand juries have to be wrong or rigged for Tom Delay to be clean.

And nevermind the fact that the bipartisan House Ethics Committee has admonished Delay more than any other member of Congress.

Poor Tommy. Even the Republicans on the bipartisan House Ethics Committer are against him.

Too funny.

TNO

Posted by: The Night Owl | Oct 5, 2005 7:50:56 AM

Just be glad there is no mind reading yet or fool proof lie detection. Or else there would be a lot more charges on both sides of the political areana.

Posted by: Hida Reju | Oct 5, 2005 11:14:20 AM

"I love how you hardcore Republicans always backpedal."

Not backpedaling; just never expressed certainty in any outcome.

I think it's likely DeLay will get off, and the DU crowd will be grievously disappointed. I'd bet on it. But nothing is certain in life but death and federal expansion.

"Yep. One has to wonder how many grand juries have to be wrong or rigged for Tom Delay to be clean."

Well, let's see. We had one grand jury that indicted DeLay for something it turns out wasn't a crime. Then we had a second grand jury that no-billed DeLay, only Earle didn't actually see fit to tell anybody. No press conferences for that one!

Finally, Earle went to a third grand jury... which, after the first grand jury had taken months, actually indicted DeLay on the very first day. One wonders exactly what Earle told them, given that they hardly had any time at all to examine evidence or hear testimony.

One also wonders if it might be Earle who will find himself in hot water when all is said and done. Some of his actions sure look like prosecutorial misconduct. He and Mary Mapes should both read their Melville a little more closely.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | Oct 10, 2005 1:43:19 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.