Let’s recall that when the House Ethics Committee found DeLay guilty not one but three times of ethics violations, Dennis Hastert and the GOP responded by removing the GOP Chairman Joel Hefley and the other uncooperative GOP committee members and replacing them with more morally pliant DeLay henchmen. They then changed the House rules in 2004 to accommodate DeLay’s continued leadership despite his quite obvious violation of the regulations the Republicans had enacted like shrieking vestals during the Clenis era.
I’ve no doubt the cranky Hefley was the first to sign the petition for DeLay’s ouster; he was also the only Republican who supported the bill to repeal the changes to House rules that allowed DeLay to retain his sovereignty while under indictment. But lest anyone want to make Hefley a hero remember that he had initially voted for the changes the first time around — his Come to Jesus moment had more to do with his removal from a powerful committee chair than any tender pangs of conscience.
There is not one member of the GOP in any position to be on a high horse over this one.
Even Chris Matthews shares my mirth. "Newt Gingrich as a reformer? I mean, I guess I remember — I said the other night it reminds me the line about Doris Day, I knew her before she was a virgin."
With his splenetic history of moral triumphalism during the Lewinsky scandal even as he was cheating on his own wife Newt may well be the most honorable man in the GOP, but that really isn’t something I’d advertise.
And this race to the altar has little to do with any newfound awareness within the GOP about indecorousness of its own ranks. They have both known about it and institutionally facilitated it all along. Their decision to try and grab the moral high ground just as the public is becoming acquainted with the shenaniganss they’ve all been co-signing for years is nothing short of ribald comedy.
(graphic by Monk at Inflatable Dartboard)
Update: Watertiger has visual aids and stock market tips. (thanks Mark)