Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Quote du Jour

Texas Monthly has this to say in a nifty article about to be former -- but not soon enough -- Rep. Tom DeLay:
DeLay understood almost everything about power in Washington except the insidious power of scandal. He had plenty of precedents to learn from; in his career, he had seen two Speakers brought down by ethics violations, Democrat Jim Wright, of Texas, and Republican Newt Gingrich, of Georgia, as well as his own handpicked successor to Gingrich, Bob Livingston, of Louisiana, who confessed to an extramarital affair and quit the House. Three lessons were to be drawn from the dethroning of Wright and Gingrich. The most obvious was that they were intense partisans whose political style -- Wright’s stretching of parliamentary rules to run roughshod over the opposition, Gingrich’s (and the entire Republican leadership’s, including DeLay’s) loathing of Bill Clinton -- made the minority party hate them and look for ways to bring them down. The second lesson was that if you’re going to make yourself a target, you’d better not give the opposition a reason to shoot -- and in today’s Washington, that reason is usually ethical transgressions. The third was that scandal, once contracted, is a virus with no known cure. The only safe course is to stay within the rules, but DeLay lived on the edge. He painted the target on his own back.
(Hat tip to Taegan Goddard and Political Wire.)

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