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Tom DeLay Reprises FOX News Role As Expert On Congressional Ethics

Reported by Ellen - August 31, 2007 -

I thought my mouth would drop on the floor when I saw Tom DeLay introduced as the lone expert on last night’s (8/30/07) Hannity & Colmes to discuss Senator Larry Craig’s bathroom scandal. But the only thing more shocking was that it was at least his second appearance in that role on FOX News that day. With video.

The very partisan DeLay, repeatedly criticized for his own ethics and still under federal indictment for, essentially, money laundering, was introduced simply as the former Majority Leader of the House of Representatives. It wasn’t until Alan Colmes’ portion of the interview that any mention of DeLay’s ethical challenges occurred. Meanwhile, FOX News hoisted DeLay on his high horse to repeat the same charges as he alleged on Your World and so excellently summarized by Melanie in her post earlier in the day: That Republicans have The Moral Authority on Congressional scandals because they purge their own swiftly. Never mind that it took DeLay about six months to resign from his seat in Congress after he had been indicted. And never mind that DeLay’s allies had pushed through a GOP rule change to permit members to keep leadership posts if they are indicted (the rule was restored after a storm of criticism). Any viewer who didn’t already know that DeLay was under indictment and had wanted the rules changed to allow him to stay in power would still be in the dark after watching Hannity & Colmes.

In DeLay's view, the worst thing about the Craig scandal was not that a senior member of Congress, a family-values Republican, is likely a complete hypocrite but that “It’s keeping Republicans from fighting for things that are important, like the good news in Iraq.”

DeLay seemed to think (and the FOX News producers seemed to tacitly agree) that his authority stemmed from having been the subject of so many investigations, himself. And, of course, he was allowed to portray himself as a victim. “You know what I’ve gone through for 11 years of frivolous accusations and being demonized in the leftist media,” he told Sean Hannity.

As he spoke, the chyron read: “Fmr House Majority Leader Tom DeLay Reacts To Craig Scandal.”

Colmes told DeLay, “You’re doing the same thing (Craig) did, blame the media… You were criticized by your own Ethics Committee.” Props to Colmes for at least mentioning some of DeLay’s past, which FOX News was obviously determined to hide, but “criticized by the Ethics Committee” really doesn't do justice to DeLay’s scandal-ridden record.

As he did on Your World, DeLay repeated his claim that “Republicans deal with these issues. Republicans kick out those who have done wrong.” Except Scooter Libby, and David Vitter, to name a few. I-tried-to-avoid-stepping-down-as-Majority-Leader DeLay even had the unmitigated gall to later brag that Republicans “step off their committees until the investigation was over.”

In Part 2, a clip of DeLay on the Today show was shown in which DeLay accused host Matt Lauer of bias because he didn’t want to discuss Democratic scandals when DeLay was there to discuss Craig. Of course, there was no such problem on FOX News where Democratic scandals routinely get equal time during discussions about Republican scandals. Hannity and DeLay ran through the distorted litany of Democrats supposedly unpunished by scandals: Ted Kennedy, Alan Mollohan (still not charged with any crime) and, of course, Bill Clinton. Somehow the names of Republican Senators Ted Stevens and David Vitter never came up.

Colmes did a decent job of confronting DeLay on Republican hypocrisy toward Vitter. Colmes asked if the reason no one had called for Vitter’s resignation was because one scandal involved straight sex and the other gay and if there was a double standard on that score. (Comment: I think it’s because if Vitter resigns, his replacement would likely be a Democrat whereas Craig’s would not.)

In a condescending voice, DeLay said, “Alan, the Republicans have shown over and over again they deal with wrongdoing in a very straight and forward way, either taking people off the committees or requiring them to resign Congress or put them in jail. The Democrats do nothing but re-elect their people and put ‘em heads of committees.”

By the way, before he resigned in the wake of very bad polling, DeLay had been planning to run for re-election after he was indicted .