Wednesday, April 13, 2005
by Wayne Besen
(Tom DeLay's "Worldview" was Funded by Slippery Lobbyist)
In sixth grade, I used to play pick-up basketball against a neighborhood bully and spoil sport nicknamed Major Pick. He was called Major Pick because he barked orders like a soldier and constantly picked his butt. His team would always win because the overpowering brute would either break the rules or change them.
For example, in our game, the team that first reached 15 points always won. Unless, of course, the Major Pick's team came up short, prompting him to spontaneously change the magic number to 20 points. He would continue this charade until his team was eventually "victorious" or it got so late that angry mothers would drag their sons home to do homework.
I haven't thought of Major Pick in almost two decades, but he naturally came to mind after watching recent conservative attempts to undermine America's independent judiciary. Like Major Pick, these right wing bullies are sore losers who use thuggery, intimidation and capricious rule changes to ensure an outcome to their liking. Unfortunately, the game they are trying to rig is the American system of justice, and if these bullies get their way, America will cease to be a free nation.
At first, it seemed reactions by right wing reactionaries to the Terri Schiavo case had at least a modicum of sincerity. But it has become clear that Schiavo was just a pawn in a larger, more diabolical scheme to fundamentally emasculate the judiciary and mold them into "yes men" for an out of control Congress.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, personified this shameless effort, by suggesting that the decisions of judges that don't rule in favor of his pet issues could lead some people to "engage in violence." House Majority Leader Tom DeLay threatened retribution for judges in the Schiavo case by saying "the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior."
One has to look no further than a nutty conference hosted last week by the Judeo-Christian Council for Restoration to see that the attempt to weaken and subjugate the judiciary is a coordinated effort. This meeting was a bizarre orgy of judge bashing with seminars with titles such as "Remedies to Judicial Tyranny."
What were the remedies?
Special guest speaker Edwin Vieira, author of "How to Dethrone the Imperial Judiciary", said that Joseph Stalin had the right idea. "He had a slogan. And it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: 'no man, no problem.'"
According to the Washington Post, his musing was taken from the full Stalin quote, "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem."
At the conference, right wing matriarch Phyllis Schlafly said Congress should pass bills that would remove the court's jurisdiction to review same-sex marriage, cases involving religious displays, The Pledge of Allegiance and the Boy Scouts.
Schlafly and others of her ilk can't stand that their theocratic agenda is unconstitutional, so they increasingly see their only options as dismantling the Constitution or dismembering those who uphold it.
We've come to expect such extreme behavior from right wing agitators. However, it is reckless for "leaders" like DeLay and Cornyn to seemingly encourage retribution against the judiciary at a time when judges are seeking $12 million to protect them from violent attacks.
Fortunately, the arrogance and corruption of DeLay is finally coming to light. Even his trip to Rome to attend the Pope's funeral couldn't bury the news about his mounting ethics problems. For years, DeLay has boasted that his fundamentalist "worldview" guides his record in Congress. What he didn't say, was that his worldview included trips to Britain, Moscow, and the Pacific Mariana Islands, paid for by slippery lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
At least DeLay is sincere about upholding family values. In fact, The New York Times reported he is such a good family man that he funneled $500,000 to his wife and daughter for supposed consulting fees.
How has the GOP reacted to Mr. DeLay's scumbaggery? They gutted the ethics committee to make it nearly impossible to hold DeLay accountable. And so-called family groups, such as the Family Research Council, are circling the wagons vowing to protect DeLay, while not stopping to even consider that he might be guilty. Good thing FRC is protecting our nation's morals or we'd really be in trouble.
Giving new meaning to the term delaying tactic, the Congressman's only defense is accusing his accusers of being liberal partisans. Even if this were true, which it is not considering many of his critics are Republicans, how does this absolve DeLay from his despicable behavior?
Instead of the majority political party, the GOP is fast becoming the Major Pick party. But in their quest to rig the game, polls show that Bush and Congress are beginning to lose in the court of public opinion.
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