Thursday, May 12, 2005

What If They Threw a Party…

From the New York Times:

When 900 conservatives gather at a downtown Hilton hotel on Thursday night to pay tribute to Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the House majority leader who is caught up in a swirl of accusations over his fund-raising and ties to lobbyists, only about three dozen House Republicans will be there.

Representative Melissa A. Hart, a Pennsylvania Republican who serves on the ethics panel that is likely to investigate Mr. DeLay, will not be among them.

“They were confused,” Ms. Hart said Wednesday, after organizers of the event said they were initially told that she would attend. “My initial response was no.”

The sparse attendance by House members, and the miscommunication about Ms. Hart, suggest the delicate nature of having a dinner in Mr. DeLay’s honor. Organizers say they purposely steered clear of selling tickets to lobbyists and refrained from asking Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois to suggest that House Republicans attend.


Instead, the attendees will seem like a who’s who of the right, including the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition; Ken Melhman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee; and his predecessor, Ed Gillespie.

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, a Christian conservative advocacy group, is among the hosts, as is Paul M. Weyrich, considered a founding father of the modern conservative movement. Dr. James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, will pay homage to Mr. DeLay by videotape.


Mr. DeLay is a hero within the conservative movement; Representative Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana and a leader of House conservatives, called Mr. DeLay “simply the most influential conservative legislator in America.”

But the majority leader has also been the subject of questions about his political fund-raising, his overseas travel and his ties to lobbyists. While the House ethics committee is expected to investigate the accusations, the panel, composed of five Democrats and five Republicans, is having difficulty organizing because of a dispute about how to hire its staff.

Poor guy — can’t even get his Republican colleagues to come out for him; just the fringe fundie frothers. Harry Truman was right — if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.