I occasionally torture myself by listening to Air America Radio as I drive to and fro. If you haven’t listened to Air America — and frankly, most Americans haven’t — let me fill you in. Air America Radio is the liberal answer to the highly successful conservative radio shows hosted by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Shawn Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly. The only real name of note on the Left’s side is Al Franken. I find it interesting to note just how often he says his show is funny. I figure if you have to identify yourself as funny, you’re probably not cutting it. And I don’t find his show funny.
I once heard Al Franken sing — yes, he sang; did I mention I torture myself? — something like this, to the tune of “Blowing in the Wind:” “How many times must DeLay be indicted, before you consider him a crook?” And the Left has made much of Rep. Tom DeLay’s indictment. But an indictment, all by itself, is much like being arrested — it means the authorities have chosen to bring you to trial. And in this country, people are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Since much has been said in the news and by liberal pundits (and that’s really the same thing) about how guilty Rep. DeLay is, let’s take a look at what is really going on here. The driving force behind these indictments is Ronnie Earl, the Travis County District Attorney in Texas. Earl has worked with three grand juries as part of his attack on Rep. DeLay. Let’s consider these grand juries.
The first grand jury looked at the charges, weighed the evidence, and decided not to indict. The second grand jury looked at the charges, weighted the evidence, and decided to indict Rep. DeLay for violating the Texas Election Code in 2002 — based on a Texas law amended in 2003 to make what was done illegal. How can you be tried for something you did before a law was written against it? Well, actually, you can’t. Doing so would make it an ex post facto or “after the fact” law, which is specifically prohibited by Constitutional law. Rep. DeLay’s lawyer has requested that this indictment be tossed out. Indicting someone for doing something that wasn’t illegal at the time is a sign of embarrassing incompetence in a lawyer. It’s like a contractor accidentally building a house upside down. The word I’m looking for to describe the second grand jury’s actions at the behest of Earl goes beyond “oops.”
So when Earl realized that he couldn’t convict Rep. DeLay with the first two juries, he scrambled to work with a third. In less than five hours, the new grand jury decided to indict Rep. DeLay on money laundering charges. Tell me, how carefully do you think the grand jury looked at the charges and weighed the evidence? After all, the first two grand juries spent months checking out the evidence, but this one could return an indictment after a few hours. *sniff* Something stinks here.
Regardless of how much this stinks, the indictments have had the immediate effect of removing Rep. DeLay from his position as the Republican Whip, the #2 man in the House. Rep. DeLay was also instrumental in turning the Texas state legislature from Democrat to Republican control for the first time in 130 years. These indictments are a punishment for that success, pure and simple.
And just in case you believe, along with Al Franken, that the Bush administration is the most criminal one in American history, let’s do a quick comparison of our current administration with the previous one:
Under the Bush administration, there have been two indictments on Rep. Tom DeLay, one of which is invalid. Rumors are flying that new indictments will be coming for the Valerie Plame / Joe Wilson scandal. Whee!
- Number of Starr-Ray investigation convictions or guilty pleas (including one governor, one associate attorney general and two Clinton business partners): 14
- Number of Clinton Cabinet members who came under criminal investigation: 5
- Number of Reagan cabinet members who came under criminal investigation: 4
- Number of top officials jailed in the Teapot Dome Scandal: 3
- Number of individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine who have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes: 47
- Number of these convictions during Clinton’s presidency: 33
- Number of indictments/misdemeanor charges: 61
- Number of congressional witnesses who have pleaded the Fifth Amendment, fled the country to avoid testifying, or (in the case of foreign witnesses) refused to be interviewed: 122
- Guilty pleas and convictions obtained by Donald Smaltz in cases involving charges of bribery and fraud against former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy and associated individuals and businesses: 15
- Acquitted or overturned cases (including Espy): 6
- Fines and penalties assessed: $11.5 million
- Amount Tyson Food paid in fines and court costs: $6 million
CLINTON MACHINE CRIMES FOR WHICH CONVICTIONS HAVE BEEN OBTAINED
Drug trafficking (3), racketeering, extortion, bribery (4), tax evasion, kickbacks, embezzlement (2), fraud (12), conspiracy (5), fraudulent loans, illegal gifts (1), illegal campaign contributions (5), money laundering (6), perjury, obstruction of justice.
OTHER MATTERS INVESTIGATED BY SPECIAL PROSECUTORS AND CONGRESS, OR REPORTED IN THE MEDIA
Bank and mail fraud, violations of campaign finance laws, illegal foreign campaign funding, improper exports of sensitive technology, physical violence and threats of violence, solicitation of perjury, intimidation of witnesses, bribery of witnesses, attempted intimidation of prosecutors, perjury before congressional committees, lying in statements to federal investigators and regulatory officials, flight of witnesses, obstruction of justice, bribery of cabinet members, real estate fraud, tax fraud, drug trafficking, failure to investigate drug trafficking, bribery of state officials, use of state police for personal purposes, exchange of promotions or benefits for sexual favors, using state police to provide false court testimony, laundering of drug money through a state agency, false reports by medical examiners and others investigating suspicious deaths, the firing of the RTC and FBI director when these agencies were investigating Clinton and his associates, failure to conduct autopsies in suspicious deaths, providing jobs in return for silence by witnesses, drug abuse, improper acquisition and use of 900 FBI files, improper futures trading, murder, sexual abuse of employees, false testimony before a federal judge, shredding of documents, withholding and concealment of subpoenaed documents, fabricated charges against (and improper firing of) White House employees, inviting drug traffickers, foreign agents and participants in organized crime to the White House.
Frankly, Mr. Franken, I think the comparison says it all.
Addendum (10/25/2005): And speaking of Al Franken, Michelle Malkin gives an indication of his temperment based on his own actions.