Sat 17 Mar, 2007 09:02 am
Tom DeLay: Tome of the Unsoldier
"No retreat... no surrender... that is Spartan law!" - This Angry Bodybuilder I Keep Seeing in Ads for Some Movie
"No retreat/no surrender" has been coming up a lot lately. It's Leonidas' rallying cry in 300. It appears to be the extent of our vision for Iraq. It was John Kerry's campaign song.
(And look how well that turned out.) And now it's the title of Tom DeLay's memoirs.
Actually, the full title of the DeLay book - which came out Wednesday -- is No Retreat, No Surrender: One American's Fight. Yes, it's a story so bellicose, even the subtitle is scrappy.
And he's earned the right to talk tough, too. Not just because of his own student deferments, but also by the student deferments of Rush Limbaugh (who wrote the foreword) and the "other priorities" of Sean Hannity (who wrote the preface) and the book's co-author, Stephen Mansfield.
Four fightin' Americans. Zero seconds in uniform. $25.95 at bookstores everywhere.
No retreat. No surrender. No shame.
(Stephen Mansfield is a truly special case, by the way. His avoidance of military service - -not that there's anything wrong with that -- hasn't stopped him from writing The Faith of the American Solider, or American Heroes: Stories of Faith, Courage and Sacrifice from the Front Lines or an open letter to Cindy Sheehan where he tells her she's threatening to "dishonor Casey's heroism.")
(How did he get to be on a first name basis with Casey Sheehan? He certainly didn't run into him in combat.)
(It's almost like he's an asswipe.)
I don't care that Tom DeLay ducked the draft. It's the only good thing I've ever heard about him. But he's the one who keeps calling himself a revolutionary and describing everything in G.I. Joe-speak.
In No Retreat, he calls Newt Gingrich:
"... a wonderful field general who loved to fight and knew how to rally troops to battle."
Field general? Fight? Rally? Troops? Battle? We're talking about Newt Gingrich. A bookish fatso. He's not Robert E. Lee. He's Sara Lee. Newt Gingrich spent the Vietnam War in the killing fields of the history department at Tulane. And that's perfectly fine. He would have screwed up the army, too. But come on.
Here's DeLay on fundraising.
"... People often ask me how I am able to raise so much money. It is very simple: I believe in what I'm doing. I tell potential donors that people like me are working their butts off to advance conservative values, and that those outside the battlefield should give to make victory for our values possible."
In other words, Jack Abramoff wasn't buying influence; he was buying Victory Bonds. And have you seen Tom DeLay's butt? If that's what it looks like "worked off," I'd hate to see it at rest.
I'd rather advance in the face of fire.
Everything is a fight with DeLay. Here he is on the Texas House:
"I hated these people. I thought they were in power to destroy my country, and I had no intention of giving them one inch."
How would Gadalf the Grey put it? "YOU SHALL NOT PASS... LEGISLATION!!!"
And here he is, talking about how his father caught him smoking, tried to make him smoke until he got sick, to teach him a lesson, and how DeLay smoked two packs while he watched, but stoutly refused to learn anything.
"Finally, Dad stormed from the room and I knew I had won."
Which is a shame, not just for his health, but because he could use those two packs of cigarettes, for when he goes to jail.
There are lots of other examples, but you see what I mean.
Why do some Republicans insist on describing everything in military terms? Bill O'Reilly (who didn't go to war) is a "culture warrior." Lou Dobbs (who never served) is defending a "War on the Middle Class." William Bennett (who never fought) has written a book called Why We Fight. And Ann Coulter wears army boots.
No. That's a childish thing to say. What I meant to say is she's a lesbian.
Speaking of not retreating or surrendering...
Napoleon, in his Maxims, tells us that going forward is better than going backward and capitulation -- in the open field -- is the height of cowardice. But he also provides instructions for both orderly retreat and honorable surrender. This is because Napoleon was an actual soldier, and not just some idiot.
And it's why "strategy" and "stubbornness" are two different words.
If your enemy knows you never retreat and never surrender, he has a strategic advantage. Because you don't know what he's going to do, but he knows your plan is to stand in one place and either die or not.
C'est magnifique, mais ... no, it's not even magnificent. It's just being a dunderhead.
FUN AT HOME:
Here's one more quote from Tom DeLay's No Retreat, No Surrender:
"Liberals blaming me for corruption in Washington is like the KKK blaming Martin Luther King, Jr. for an epidemic of burning crosses."
What could he possibly think he means? It's like when someone spray paints graffiti, but they make the swastika facing the wrong way. How important is authorial intent? Can an analogy be offensive even if it's impossible to understand?
Imagine Tom DeLay and Jacques Derrida get stuck in an elevator. What do they talk about?
DeLay epitomizes the desk warrior, intent on winning his goals through the use of other humans' blood and money. Goals of power and prestige, at any cost.
I think we should all just start describing our lives in army speak. Like instead of saying I'm going to Target I could say...
The mission today is to leave the FOB on a sortie to Target. Intelligence show that bicycles are kept near toys at the back of the store and I am basing my attack plan on this information.
See? Doesn't my life sound more exciting already!?
Don't forget the code names....
Operation Loony Bin is in progress....
I'm a total Poge.
Much to be said for three hots, a shower, and a real matress.
If that's what we're going to do I'll just start and end my day saying SNAFU and let it go at that
DeLay said he has given the FBI documents exonerating his wife, but an associate of the former lawmaker said that agents have followed up with a fresh round of subpoenas.
The inquiry appears to be focused on determining whether DeLay's wife, Christine, earned her pay from two organizations controlled by Ed Buckham, a lobbyist once closely affiliated with the former Republican leader, according to sources interviewed by federal investigators. Several former employees of the groups have received subpoenas for documents, some in the past few weeks.
DeLay told The Hill that he gave the FBI documents and computer records proving his wife was a legitimate employee of ARMPAC, a fundraising committee, and Alexander Strategy Group, a lobbying firm once controlled by Buckham.
The Justice Department's persistence shows it has run amok, DeLay says, echoing a charge leveled last week by Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) in response to reports that he is under federal investigation.
"They're not going after me," DeLay said of the FBI. "They're going after other people and they're questioning the other people about whether they know anything I may have done. And we've given them all the records and that's the problem they're having."
DeLay said the evidence shows that his wife did not accept improper payments: "She did her work and she was underpaid for the work she did and they can't make the case. It's a Justice Department that is running amok. Fish or cut bait. Do something."
Speaking after a meeting with former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) on Capitol Hill, DeLay said, "We have cooperated with everything. We've given them everything, including computers; they've taken computers that I had here. They've gotten everything that's got anything to do with my life."
Seeking to deflect DeLay's wrath away from Justice, his lawyer, Richard Cullen, said his client was exasperated by an unrelated case in which a grand jury indicted him on money laundering charges arising from actions at a Texas fundraising committee.
"When Tom DeLay said that [about Justice], it reflected frustration that many people feel when they are involved in an investigation," said Cullen. "In Tom's situation, most of the frustration centers around the Texas case, which is dragging on and on. We are very comfortable that the Justice Department is proceeding properly and expeditiously.
"I am also very confident that when they complete their investigation they will determine that no member of the DeLay family acted outside the law. I'm very confident of that."
DeLay said neither he nor his wife is the target of the investigation. But sources contacted by the FBI or familiar with the probe say Christine seems very much in the agency's sights. The FBI has asked former ARMPAC and Alexander Strategy Group employees what work Christine DeLay did.
"They were really focused on Christine DeLay and whether she was doing anything that would warrant her salary," said one person contacted by agents.
The Washington Post reported that Buckham's lobbying firm, Alexander Strategy Group, paid Christine DeLay a monthly salary of about $3,300 between 1998 and 2002.
ARMPAC, DeLay's leadership political action committee (PAC), which was also tied to Buckham, paid her and her daughter, Dani DeLay Ferro, about $350,000 in consulting fees and expenses between 2001 and 2006, according to the Post.
Buckham employed ARMPAC's executive director, Jim Ellis, as a consultant at Alexander, and staff of the two organizations shared an office building in Georgetown. Former DeLay associates described Buckham as a leader at ARMPAC.
The FBI has subpoenaed Ferro and investigators have questioned former DeLay associates about her work for ARMPAC. But the focus is mostly on Christine, sources say. Ferro refused to comment.
One source familiar with the investigation said federal officials have given immunity to at least one senior member of
DeLay's political circle who may now be cooperating with investigators. Former associates of the majority leader say investigators are apparently attempting to indict DeLay for corruption by proving that Buckham sought to influence him with unearned payments to his wife.
Buckham's lobbying firm represented corporate clients such as Amgen, Time Warner, United States Telecom, Defense Technologies, BellSouth, Nextel, UPS, Lilly, and the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America. Before Buckham became a lobbyist in 1998, he was DeLay's chief of staff. The firm has since closed amid allegations of unethical conduct.
A person still close to DeLay said a wealth of evidence proves Christine played an important role at ARMPAC and deserved her salary.
"There are dozens of people who will demonstrate that Christine DeLay was a central cog in DeLay's political world and was a, if not the, key adviser of ARMPAC," said the source. "No major decision affecting DeLay was made without Christine being the protector."
Christine DeLay approved the content of fundraising letters, her husband's fundraising schedule, and the hiring of new employees, the source said.
Testimony and memos showing that Christine played an active role at the PAC are likely to be an important part of the DeLays' defense if they are charged.
The investigation of DeLay became known last April when his former deputy chief of staff, Tony Rudy, plead guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery. Rudy worked for Buckham between 2002 and 2004.
Court documents said Rudy collaborated with Buckham and another former DeLay aide, Michael Scanlon, to arrange favors.
Hell hath no fury like a lawmaker searched!
Hell hath no fury like a lawmaker searched! Or something like that.
By Paul Kiel - May 9, 2007, 9:00 AM
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) is furious that the FBI is thoroughly investigating him, issuing subpoenas for documents, and interviewing a number of his former aides.
For one thing, the Justice Department just won't stop asking questions about his wife's work for two organizations controlled by Ed Buckham, a lobbyist and close associate of Jack Abramoff. Here's DeLay speaking with reporters yesterday:
"They're going after other people and they're questioning the other people about whether they know anything I may have done. And we've given them all the records and that's the problem they're having.... [My wife] did her work and she was underpaid for the work she did and they can't make the case. It's a Justice Department that is running amok. Fish or cut bait. Do something."
Yeah, bring 'em on!
It's at this point that DeLay's defense lawyer, Richard Cullen, steps in to moderate. You can hear the soothing tone: "When Tom DeLay said that [about Justice], it reflected frustration that many people feel when they are involved in an investigation... We are very comfortable that the Justice Department is proceeding properly and expeditiously."
Investigators have reportedly been probing whether DeLay's wife actually did any work at those jobs, but that's far from their sole focus. Abramoff and DeLay were key allies; a bond forged by millions of dollars. It's no coincidence that two of DeLay's former aides have pled guilty in the Abramoff scandal, and a third, Buckham, is in danger of being indicted.
But DeLay isn't the only lawmaker who's outraged (outraged!) by the FBI's tactics. Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), who is also in investigators' sights for his ties to Abramoff, just can't believe that the FBI searched everything in his house:
"The agents systematically searched our home, removing every book, turning over every couch cushion and every pot and pan, and rummaging through every drawer, file cabinet, cupboard and closet..."