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Good News Dallas
by Special to    Mon, Jan 16, 2006, 05:17 PM

Congressman Roy Blunt
For an instant it looked safe to wade back into Washington, that cesspool of corruption created by Tom DeLay and others like him. The effluent seemed to subside with DeLay’s abdication and uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s guilty pleas. But now, like a sewer line break on Sunday, word flows down from the Hill that GOP House members are poised to name Roy Blunt of Missouri as DeLay’s successor as House Majority Leader. Blunt says he has the votes to win.

I hope so. I’m for Blunt, too. I like to see the Republicans step in it, particularly when it serves a public purpose and not merely a partisan one. Unless the Republicans get their olfactory sense repaired before their Party caucuses in February, they are going accomplish this smelly deed all by themselves, meaning they won’t even be able to blame Bill Clinton.

Please don’t fault me for being uncharitable, which I freely admit to being. After all, we Democrats have stepped in a cow paddie from time to time—although not into a turd of this magnitude in some time—and when we did I never detected any sympathy from the Grand Old Party of DeLay, Abramoff, Pat Roberston, Ralph Reed, Grover Norquist, Jerry Falwell, et al. You know, those God-fearing, law-abiding, reasonable people who are the Republican Party of the 21st Century.

Simply put, I do not know of any other viable Republican representative who comes closer to being Tom DeLay than Roy Blunt. I say there is no other viable DeLay look-alike because potential alternatives like former Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham is on his way to the Uncle Sam Hotel and Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), known as "Representative #1" in the Abramoff court filings, just walked the plank, "temporarily," he claims, on his chairmanship of the House Administration Committee. If he’s not forced out of Congress entirely, which he should be, I’ll be surprised. Thus, their unavailability whittles the ranks and leaves Blunt as the top contender.

In a previous column, I stated that DeLay and Blunt were joined at the hip; the new boss will be no different from the old one. If the new boss is Roy Blunt, there is ample evidence to support that statement, or, as my dad would have concluded after surveying the landscape, "That looks about right to me."

DeLay brought Blunt into the House Republican leadership in 1999 as his chief lieutenant, then greased his way to the majority whip position when DeLay stepped from there to the majority leader’s role. When DeLay was indicted, Blunt assumed DeLay’s job as "temporary" majority leader. (Someone needs to tell Ney what "temporary" means in the real world. Ney is fish food.)

From the get-go, Blunt adhered to the DeLay playbook for being a money changer in the temple. Like DeLay, he is a lobbyist’s congressman, jetting about here and there, at corporate expense, then voting for the major corporate interests he is literally in bed with. It’s really a family affair. Blunt divorced his wife of 31 years (that may make no difference to some of you so-called "family values" people, but it does to me) and married a lobbyist for Altria Corporation, which owns Philip Morris, one of the tobacco giants that have contributed thousands to Blunt in money and air fare. Coincidentally, Blunt’s son Andrew is also a lobbyist for Altria, just like his new stepmom was until recently, and for SBC Communications, too, which is also a major contributor to Daddy. Sound a little bit like DeLay, who used the power of his position to pay his wife and daughter from ill-gotten gains?

And then there’s those other pesky connections between DeLay and Blunt, like Jack Abramoff, the K Street Project (one of the most pernicious political schemes I’ve ever seen), the trading of funds between DeLay PAC and Blunt PAC, and the very recently defunct Alexander Strategy Group (ASG), a lobbying firm formed by DeLay’s former chief of staff, Ed Buckham, in which both DeLay and Blunt were major stakeholders. DeLay’s wife was even "employed" by the firm at a hefty salary, although she performed no substantial work. DeLay’s head political honcho, the now-indicted Jim Ellis, ran both DeLay’s PAC and Blunt’s PAC, and Blunt has given Ellis $10,000 for his criminal defense.

Like DeLay, Blunt filters senior congressional and political aides into the lobbying world—creating tailor-made cahiers for the dispensation of corporate political money and perks to him and his supporters. And like his mentor, Blunt assisted Abramoff in defeating efforts to eliminate sweatshop conditions in the Northern Mariana Islands—conditions that even former right-wing Alaska Sen. Frank Murkowski found so deplorable that he introduced and passed in the Senate legislation to undo this continuing travesty, only to have the legislation run fatally into Abramoff, DeLay and Blunt on the House side. If you want to see what the Republicans are stepping into with Roy Blunt, look at the just-released report by Public Citizen, no slouch of an organization. You can link here for the report.

Republican House members, please elect Roy Blunt as your next majority leader. He deserves it and so do you. Jack Abramoff—in fedora and trench coat, the gangster of the Hill—joined by the Tom DeLays and Roy Blunts—faux hair, face fixes, cigars and dripping with largesse, the Boss Tweeds of our new world: all odiferous names synonymous with corruption. The public needs Roy Blunt, too. It will enable them to better see and smell what’s been going on in their town. Maybe they will get a face full of the whoring taking place on their tab and do something about it come November.


Like hogs wallowing in their filth, the Republican House members who support Blunt can’t smell the stink because they’ve been in the sty too long. I’m betting that the American public will not like the aroma.

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