Earle derailed a runaway train deliberately aimed at what is now the softest but always largest pillar of our democracy—"We, the People."
Things have not been and will not be the same since Earle dropped "The Hammer"—the Texas gasbag-of-a-congressman who once proclaimed, "I am the federal government."
It doesn’t matter if Tom DeLay is convicted on the money laundering charges properly preferred against him and his confederates by the Travis County prosecutor. Earle nevertheless has shined the light on the "Republican Culture of Corruption," a phrase that is no longer partisan poli-speak, but an apt description of the status quo in Republican Washington and here at home.
Earle single-handedly gave legitimacy, inspiration, incentive and backbone to those who are now about to topple the Jack Abramoffs, Bill Frists, Ralph Reeds, and the rest of the chief thieves and frauds of the so-called "conservative" movement of our new century—those who have no concept of the public trust and fiduciary responsibility, but who instead view our government as a means to self-fulfillment and personal enrichment. At the very least, by indicting DeLay and dragging him into the halls of justice, Earle took out their best and smelliest political defenseman. And Earle played by the rules when he did it.
Should DeLay win his legal battles and be restored to his House leadership position by the likes of Dennis Hastert—something George Bush said he desires, but which many Republicans dread like a hemorrhoidectomy—then that, too, is a result we can probably live with, for DeLay and his ilk will forever be the neutered poster children for the crippled and illegitimate agenda they represent. Dick Cheney can show up at as many DeLay fundraisers as his heart allows, and it will do DeLay no good.
Ronnie Earle is the Man of the Year 2005, not just for Texas but for all of this nation. For Scotland’s St. Andrews and the Mariana Islands, too.
Meanwhile, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation proceeds, with still-unresolved questions about Karl Rove. Perhaps another prosecutor for Man of the Year in 2006?
If Ronnie Earle is the Best of 2005, who are the worst? That’s simple: Everyone mentioned here except for the prosecutors.
Ken Molberg is the former Democratic Chairman of Dallas County and longtime Texas Democratic Party leader. He also is an attorney who specializes in employment law and is president of the Texas Employment Lawyers Association