Zhaba Zhournal
Tuesday, January 04, 2005 
So are they all, all honorable men 
Hey, remember how the House Republicans, trying to prove themselves more ethical than Democrats, put in a rule that any leader facing indictment had to resign, and then changed the rule when it looked like Tom DeLay was going to get indicted? And got criticism from all sides, including a few people on their own? Well, they changed their minds again, or un-changed their minds, thus proving that sometimes either common sense or the desire to appear to have common sense prevails:
Stung by criticism that they were lowering ethical standards, House Republicans on Monday night reversed a rule change that would have allowed a party leader to retain his position even if indicted.

Lawmakers and House officials said Republicans, meeting behind the closed doors of the House chamber, had acted at the request of the House majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay, who had been the intended beneficiary of the rule change.

When they rewrote party rules in November, Republicans said they feared that Mr. DeLay could be subjected to a politically motivated indictment as part of a campaign finance investigation in Texas that has resulted in charges against three of his associates. The decision, coupled with other Republican proposals to rewrite the ethics rules, drew fierce criticism from Democrats and watchdogs outside the government, who said the Republican majority was subverting ethics enforcement.
DeLay himself actually instigated the change/un-change; and while I don't like his policies one little bit, I do have a certain degree of appreciation—on the "I had no idea rattlesnakes cared so well for their young" level—that he's telling other people not to make decisions about what they think he can and can't handle. (My thinking on this issue is probably overly influenced by the annoyance I still feel towards a guy I was dating who obviously wanted to break up with me but didn't have the guts to say it because he was afraid of hurting my feelings; dude, just come out and say it—do you think I'm so fragile I can't live without you?) (But anyway...let's go to the quote.)
Those attending the Republican meeting, which was held on the day before the opening of the 109th Congress on Tuesday, said Republicans unanimously agreed to restore the old rule after Mr. DeLay told them that the move would clear the air and deny Democrats a potent political issue. In the past year, he has been admonished by the ethics panel three times: for his tactics in trying to persuade a colleague to support the Medicare drug bill, for appearing to link political donations to support for legislation and for involving a federal agency in a political matter in Texas.
This is my favorite part, both for its message and for the guilty-pleasure reason I describe below the quote:
Some Republicans who originally opposed the rules change enthusiastically greeted the decision not to go through with it.

"It allows the Republicans to focus on the issues, the agenda that is before us and not to have Tom DeLay be the issue," Representative Zach Wamp, Republican of Tennessee, said. "I feel like we have just taken a shower."
How awesome is it that there's a guy named "Zach Wamp"? I love it; it sounds like one of those proto-futuristic names from mid–20th-century sci-fi TV shows: "And in the engine room, the zany protonic engineer Zach Wamp keeps the hyperdrive atomometer running!" Or the name of a small town in Eastern Europe: "News from the Croatian capital of Zagreb has been slow to reach the eastern village of Zakhvamp..." Or a regional term for an animal with a distinctive call: "Down here we call that a zackwamp because it goes 'zak zak zak!' and then puffs out its throat and goes 'whomp!'" Oh, the possibilities are mindless. I mean endless. I mean mindless.

Disclaimer: No disrespect to Zach Wamp or his forebears here; I'm having fun with the name, but I'm not making fun of it. Words are my chief joy, and when I find a new one, or a new combination of them, I dive in and roll around in them like a chinchilla in a dust bath. (Or a zackwamp in a fishing hole. [I envision the zackwamp as some kind of frog or other amphibian, but it could also be a relative of the blackbird that lives in marshes.]) (There, see what I mean? Give me some new words and I get completely carried away.)

[ at 1:45 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

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