Engaging the National
Gag Reflex: Lou Dubose on Tom DeLay Terri Schiavo
left-wing, pro-death Democrats in Congress who voted to murder
Terry Schiavo are now preparing for an all-out attack against
your right to life. As I write this letter, congressional liberals
are gearing up for a hateful campaign of vicious lies in an attempt
to drive me out of office. That’s why I’m writing
today to ask for your support. Please take a moment to write a
check for 5, 10, 15 thousand dollars, whatever you can reasonably
afford, to the Tom DeLay campaign. Your generous contribution
will help ensure my return to Congress as House Majority leader
and bolster my spirits to lead America in the fight against evil
. . . or something like that.
you just wrote DeLay’s next direct mail piece,” Lou
Dubose tells my friend Mike Kaspar. Dubose, the long-time Texas
reporter and co-author of the book The
Hammer: Tom DeLay: God, Money, and the Rise of the Republican Congress is
discussing the life and times of DeLay (the ex-bug exterminator
and current Congressman from Texas) on Weekly
Signals, a KUCI radio show I host with Mike.
who was editor at The
Texas Observer and political editor at The
Austin Chronicle, is fired-up. He’s been following
DeLay for 20 years and is still appalled at the House majority
will go to his base — that 20 percent of hard right Christian
radicals,” Dubose says. "He will say, ‘since I
stood up for Terry Schiavo, the godless Democrats are coming after
me.’ It gives him a layer of protection against the coming
who many regard as the second most powerful man in Washington,
may need the extra cover.
and his friends have stolen 17 elections in Texas,” Dubose
says. “They couldn’t redistrict the state’s US
Congressional districts the way they wanted to without capturing
the Texas House from the Democrats. In order to do that, they had
to win 13 seats. Tom DeLay’s PAC advised, worked for, and
raised money to make the redistricting happen. When it was over,
they won 17 seats. Of the $1.5 million the PAC spent on that election,
$750,000 of it was corporate money. It’s against the law
in Texas to spend corporate money on elections. Ronnie Earle, the
DA in Austin, has indicted three of Delay’s fundraisers.
We’re waiting to see if the other boot drops and he indicts
Dubose speaks, I continue to compose our fantasy fundraising letter — Ronnie
Earle, the vindictive partisan crackpot district attorney, will
stop at nothing to drag my good reputation through the mud. He
is out to punish me for defending your right to life. Please write
a check today.
and his operatives will not stop,” Dubose says. “There
will be another Terry Schiavo case that
they can hold up and exploit for their own political advantage — whether
it has to do with right to death or with abortion .
DeLay’s base be that gullible?
was out in the northwest in Washington State recently — which
is to me Olympia, Seattle and 180 miles of Alabama in between — listening
to Christian hate radio. They drove the Schiavo story as it developed
early on. What we have is a national electronic plebiscite in which
the Christian right gets on the radio and commands their audience
to call their members of Congress. Tom DeLay recognizes this. He
spoke to a conservative group and said 'God has sent us Terry Schiavo.'
God sent Tom DeLay Terry Schiavo to save him from himself.”
Schiavo case is like George Bush’s 911 moment.”
Schiavo is to DeLay as 911 is to Bush? Explain . . .
popularity was sinking before 911. The week before the Schiavo
story broke there were six headlines about “Hot Tub Tommy” in
the Washington Post, the only good one read “Tom
DeLay Treated for Irregular Heartbeat.” Every other one was
about a his scandals. Then here comes Terry Schiavo. DeLay ghoulishly
latches on to this suffering woman and leads the charge. He all
but accuses her husband of murder. He uses the most inflammatory
language to fire up his radical base.”
game plan culminated when Republicans
in Congress pushed through legislation in an attempt at prolonging
the brain-damaged woman's life by allowing the case to be reviewed
by federal courts. Soon afterward however, a CBS
poll showed that 82 percent of the public believed that Congress
and the President should stay out of the matter. With
numbers like that, what's a little slithering snake like DeLay to
cut her loose," Dubose says. "It was a crude moment of
political opportunism — about as crude as we’ve seen.
It will be even crueler when we see how DeLay uses Schiavo in his
fundraising pleas to his core constituency.
happened to DeLay the week of the poll?
tell you this: He’s wasn’t
at Schiavo’s bedside. He wasn’t in Florida. My bet is
that Tom DeLay was playing golf in Sugar Land — if the wind
wasn’t too bad.”
ask Dubose about the recent Los
Angeles Times article that detailed the death of DeLay’s
father Charlie, a hard-drinking alcoholic who suffered brain damage
in a tram accident in 1988. Charlie had designed and built the
tram himself. For the trial run he put his brother–in-law,
sister and his wife Maxine in the car and said ‘let’s
give it a run.’ It ran off the tracks. Everyone was injured.
Charlie’s injuries were so severe doctors told his family
he’d be a vegetable.
“The family made a decision to end all extraordinary measures to prolong
Charlie’s life,” Dubose says. “They ended his life support
and he died. Incredibly, the DeLay family filed a lawsuit against a company that
made the bearings that Charlie had used on the tram. That’s precisely the
sort of frivolous litigation that Tom DeLay holds up and waves on the floor of
the House when he tries to deny plaintiffs of legitimate causes of actions against
corporations. The DeLay family got a quarter of a million dollar settlement out
of this lawsuit even though the company did not build the tram with which Charlie
DeLay tragically ended his own life. Unfortunately the company supplied a part
for a machine to a man who was a jackleg engineer.
DeLay was guilty of reckless endangerment of his family. The real
plaintiff in that lawsuit should have been Maxine DeLay suing her
think the Charlie DeLay saga will be tough to work in to our make-believe
fundraising letter, so I ask Dubose if there’s anything
positive to take out of the ghoulish situation of Tom DeLay and
the ghost of Terri Schiavo.
the 50s, there was that extraordinary moment in American history
when Joseph Welsh stood up to Senator Joseph McCarthy and said
that famous line "You've done enough. Have you no sense of
decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" That
moment isn’t quite here yet, but the
DeLay/Schiavo relationship seems to brings
us pretty close to it.
is the first thing in ten years that I’ve seen that’s
engaged the national gag reflex. I’m sorry that this is another
rant from Texas, but I’ve lived with these people for thirty
years. These people have no sense of dignity, at long last."
long last my fundraising letter is coming to a close:
fellow Americans, we are at a crossroads in our nation’s
history. As our great president once said, “it is always
wise to err on the side of life.” As a man who has no sense
of decency, I have no idea what 'to err' means. But I do know
this: This campaign needs your help. Please give generously.
— Nathan Callahan,
March 31, 2005