Friday, January 28, 2011

NR and the Post on DeLay

In today's Washington Post, Tom Campbell has written and editorial calling for the pardon of the "poster boy" for the "culture of corruption," Tom DeLay. Campbell, who describes himself as no "fan" of DeLay, ran against DeLay in 2006, while complaining of DeLay's "ethical" misconduct lack of "civility" and fiscal irresponsibility. But Campbell believes the only significant difference between DeLay's story and that of Democrat Charles Rangel (who recently stepped down from the House Ways and Means Committee after being censured for 11 rule infractions), is that DeLay is looking at a three-year prrison sentence. Campbell believes that is "manifestly unfair" and says:
... DeLay was a zealot willing to blur the line in pursuit of what he thought to be a good cause, not someone using his office to seek financial gain. There were no personal slush funds, no house remodeled by a lobbyist, no unreported vacation home. He was only trying to build our party.
In this sense, Campbell argues DeLay is not a "bad man," but merely a reflection of "our country's politics over the past 20 years."  Campbell also argues DeLay has been "punished enough," having "lost his place on the national stage" (the horror!) And so, President Obama should pardon DeLay - for a conviction in a state court? See full Post editorial here.

The current issue of National Review doesn't call for DeLay's pardon, but actually makes a better case for such action than Campbell. NR notes DeLay was engaged in "a routine act of political fundraising" and all of the contributions involved were legal. But a "spot-light hungry" prosecutor with "documentary film crew in tow" went through a series of grand juries until he found one willing to believe there was a case against him. The prosecutor then "indicted a number of companies [that] had made perfelty legal contributions to DeLay's PAC, and then sold those companies dismissals in exchange for donations to one of his favorite charities." Says NR:
Tom Delay played brass-knuckesl politics, but that does not mean he belongs in prison

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