Saturday, June 10, 2006

Blumenauer, Walden and the end of the "The Hammer"

I usually try to avoid repeating stuff that's already been posted at Blue Oregon. Let's face it--most of our readers probably go there first before bothering to click on our humble efforts. But this tome by Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer on MyDD (linked at a BO writeup) is some of the best political blog writing I've seen in a while.

Blumenauer witnessed the full length of Tom DeLay's disgraceful farewell address to the Congress last week. Held captive in his seat by a broken foot, Blumenauer pens a piece that evokes disgust and an edgy pity for DeLay and his Republican bretheren:

Watching this "historic presentation," I looked to my far right and spied Bob Ney (his face extremely red and discolored) sitting next to "Mean Jean" Schmidt (the woman who attacked Jack Murtha) and Deborah Pryce, the fourthranking Republican under extreme assault. I wondered. "What must be going through their minds?"

People depart public service under many circumstances, but this was, without question, the most graceless presentation I have ever witnessed. This was not a goodbye speech, it was clearly the first speech of DeLay's next career, a practice run for delivering it countless times in the months ahead to raise tens of thousands of dollars for his legal bills.

Its like watching an addict continue to spiral in denial:

It was telling that, at a time when his closest associates and friends are pleading guilty to corruption charges, Tom DeLay can't think of anything he would have done differently except to have fought harder.

Even his final attempt to end his presentation on a high note, by talking about abused and neglected children who fall through society's cracks, fell flat. Both his personal claim for addressing this situation and his parting admonition to Congress to continue his efforts were tragic statements. Here was a man at the very pinnacle of power -- arguably the most influential Member of the House of Representatives for the past 12 years -- who was either unable or unwilling to use his great power to make any meaningful changes in a system he found abhorrent.

Sad. Disgusting. Deplorable. Wretched. There's a thesaurus full of adjectives to describe DeLay and none of them are words I'd want connected to myself. Earl's piece is such an appropriate parting for the former "Hammer".

Interestingly, many House Republicans were wearing hammer pins on their lapels that day--embracing DeLay as he left the House Floor following his speech. I wonder if Greg Walden was there with arms open--embracing his corrupt brother--shiny hammer gleaming on his jacket?