The Corner

Tom Delay

Here there was sharp disagreement. X predicts that DeLay will be “gone” by December—and says that it will be a real blow to conservatives, since DeLay has been a strong advocate of theirs within the House leadership. He thinks leaving soon would be the best outcome for DeLay personally, but that he won’t do it.

Z notes that DeLay isn’t helpful in some Republican congressmen’s districts: “Whenever you can’t take your leader home to the hometown barbecue and meet the family and the neighbors, you’ve got a problem. . . . That’s your leader. It happened to Newt. He wasn’t welcome in some towns. . . . He can survive. You can put him on a life-support mechanism for a long period of time. . . . If I were the Democrats, I would want him to survive.” Even if Republicans conclude that it is time for him to go, they won’t necessarily have the stomach to shove him aside: “He’s going to put the desk up against the door and pull out the guns and say I’m not leaving. You’ll have to physically remove him.” And getting rid of DeLay, Z adds, will leave the party in a bind: “They have no one with his skill set: raising the money, making sure the members get reelected, doing the tough stuff.”

Y is for hanging tough with DeLay: “People need to understand something: If the Democrats and the New York Times get Tom DeLay that’s not the end of a process, that’s the beginning of a process. [It will only] validate their charges [against the entire Republican majority].” He adds, “I don’t think he’s going to go down.”

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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