As I’ve said before, I’m no fan of Tom DeLay, but after seeing his confident smile on his mug shot yesterday, I gotta admit, I admire his political skills, just as I admire those of his chief political nemesis of the 1990s–Bill Clinton. Democrats are now gnashing their teeth at this Republican’s pose. It’ll be hard for them to use this image as a “campaign prop.”
The folks at the Democratic Underground are absolutely apoplectic, with one guy suggesting DeLay received “special treatment.” (Thanks to Malcontent‘s adorable Robbie for the tip.) One reporter
He looks in the photo like a proud member of Congress who might just have won the lottery, not one indicted on charges of money laundering. The photo looks like it could have been taken anywhere.
And that was just the point.
(Via Drudge.) His pose reminds me of the confidence then-President Clinton showed when allegations first surfaced in January 1998 that he lied under oath about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. As the story was breaking, that Democrat was preparing to deliver the State of the Union address. Given the allegations, many thought he should cancel the speech.
Such suggestions notwithstanding, Clinton stood firm and confidently strode into the House chamber that night to deliver his speech as planned. As I recall, he looked presidential and seemed unfazed by the allegations. So delivering that State of the Union address, Clinton saved his presidency. With the American people watching on live television (perhaps there was an increased audience due to the whiff of scandal), he made it appear that, despite the accusations, he was continuing to do his job — focusing on issues of national concern.
Clinton, like DeLay, is a master of the political game. It’s interesting to note that both men (Clinton largely through his surrogates) have gone after the prosecutors leveling charges against them, Clinton’s people badmouthed Kenneth Starr, DeLay taking on Ronnie Earle.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for Mr. DeLay, I find myself rooting for him in his current troubles, have even considered making a token contribution to his legal defense fund. And all this makes me wonder about Democratic support for Clinton in the 1990s. Maybe they weren’t so much rallying to support their man as relishing his fighting spirit against charges leveled by his (and their) political adversaries.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com