Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 3, 2011

GETTING THE OLD GANG BACK TOGETHER AGAIN.... By the time disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) left Congress, the "culture of corruption" surrounding Republicans in Washington was pervasive. GOP leaders vowed to change course, but it was too late -- in 2006, with the stench of failure impossible to ignore, voters grew disgusted and Republicans lost their House majority.

That was four and a half years ago. Now, DeLay is a convicted felon, but his party is back on top, at least in the chamber in which he used to serve. Republicans are seemingly aware of what went wrong the last time, and are anxious to prove this GOP majority won't be like the last GOP majority.

Republicans won't formally take the reins until mid-week, but the effort to turn over a new leaf is already off to a rough start. Take staffing decisions, for example.

Danielle Maurer will be the Director of Member Services for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Maurer is not without Capitol Hill experience:

She was previously a senior floor assistant with then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay's office.

Anne Thorsen will be the Speaker's Director of Floor Operations. She's worked on the Hill before, too:

She held a similar position in the Majority Leader's office under Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX).

Tim Berry, meanwhile, will be the new chief of staff for House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Guess who Berry used to work for?

The pick had been in doubt because Berry's old boss, former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay, was recently convicted for money laundering in Texas. [...]

Berry worked his way up the DeLay pecking order over ten years, from 1995 to 2005, serving as chief of staff for his last three years under "The Hammer.

So, DeLay resigned in disgrace and was convicted on money laundering charges, but the new Republican leadership team has hired DeLay's old team to help run the chamber. Indeed, the new Speaker's office will count on DeLay's former aides to help manage the House floor.

In fairness, it's worth noting that DeLay's former team hasn't been convicted of anything, and it's a stretch to suggest they should never be allowed to work in politics again.

The point, though, is that the new Republican House operation is starting to look an awful lot like the old Republican House operation. DeLay's aides will help run the show; corporate lobbyists have been brought on to shape policy; and the K Street project that Boehner swore to leave in the past is looking reconstituted.

Given the spectacular failures of the last Republican majority, getting the old gang back together isn't exactly encouraging.

Steve Benen 10:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

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Nothing says "transparency" and 'a clean slate' quite like hiring retreads who were the staffers for one of the most corrupt and criminal House Gangsta's in US history!
Oh well, maybe it's better than hiring reich-wing talk radio host's as COS.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on January 3, 2011 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

I hope all the conservatives and independents who voted for Boehner and McCarthy are thrilled. Those deceived, fearful, selfish, mean voters have gotten the government they want and deserve.

Unfortunately, this isn't the government I want or deserve.

Posted by: PTate in MN on January 3, 2011 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

It's almost as if that whole "tea party" thing was a scam, deisgned solely to revitalize the Republicans' fading appeal to gullible right-wing voters with transparently fake promises of a new, populist direction. After which, having been returned to office, the same old GOP leadership would be back in the saddle and able to get started on the same old pro-corporate, lobbyist-driven plutocratic agenda.

Naaah, that can't be it.

Posted by: Basilisc on January 3, 2011 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

And DNC has a 30-second spot with clever graphics showing the connections all set to The Who's "Wont Get Fooled Again" and fading with ". . . meet the new boss, same as the old boss" going into swing states any day now, right?

um, right?

Posted by: zeitgeist on January 3, 2011 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

A rare moment when I completely disagree with Benen. This seems profoundly unfair to these people. I don't even recall that they were accused of anything, much less convicted.

Posted by: Rathskeller on January 3, 2011 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

The system is the problem, not individuals. Until Democrats decide they want to clean up the system -- and we all know that begins with publicly-financed elections and may require Constitutional Amendments allowing greater restrictions on corporate lobbying and advertising -- well...who really gives a shit?

Yes, the GOP will always be a little more blatantly disgusting. A little more overtly whorish. A little less ashamed of their lobbyist ties. A little more proud of their fund-raising skills.

But does all that really matter if the Democrats in D.C. are living in glass houses and are too afraid to throw stones at the GOP's houses when they deserve it?

It isn't a coincidence that DeLay was brought down by a state prosecutor. Dems in D.C. are willing to go as far as campaigning against a "culture of corruption" but generally no further.

Posted by: square1 on January 3, 2011 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

"...getting the old gang back together isn't exactly encouraging."

Depends on your perspective!!! From my perspective, as a member of the rich wing of the republican party, it is extremely encouraging. Hopefully, Boehner will bring back ALL of 'the good old days' when our corporate lobbyists could write sections of laws and when our congressional 'front men' could pass out checks on the house floor before voting on bills that we have an interest in.

Happy days are here again...

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on January 3, 2011 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

"[I]t's a stretch to suggest they should never be allowed to work in politics again."

I feel like some stretching exercises!!

Anyone who worked for, caucused with, voted for, or ever sat in a hot tub with [EEEWWW!!!} Tom DeLay may never:
hold public office;
work for anyone holding public office;
hold a professional license;
live within 1000 feet of a school, church or day-care facility;
have access to or custody of children;
procreate [they may chose one of abstinence or chemical castration].

Further, they must inform the local law enforcement upon moving into a neighborhood.

It is left up to the Vatican as to whether they could apply for the priesthood.

Posted by: OKDem on January 3, 2011 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

When you're always drunk (Captain Merlot!), it gets more and more difficult to maitain a boner!

Posted by: Trollop on January 3, 2011 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

God damn it! "maintain"..

So much for my zinger. Like old crooks joining the staff I guess..

Posted by: Trollop on January 3, 2011 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Well, what the hell. After all, they're there to "fight" the deficits and debt that they burdened us with (Reagan, Bush, Bush). Who better to staff the cheese factory than the mice?

Posted by: Hart Williams on January 4, 2011 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

This article is disingenuine on it’s face. Where you (and the commenters when the democratically controlled Congress was influenced and "controlled' by corporate lobbyists’?

Posted by: Peter on January 4, 2011 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Lon Ringus on January 5, 2011 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

I just can't wait for the new Speaker of the House to interrupt the reading of the Constitution so as to amend it adding the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."

Posted by: deke4 on January 6, 2011 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Oh my, there you all go again, saying the Republicans failed. But they didn't -- not at all. The people they owe their souls to are doing fine. The last decade has slid much of America's wealth to their side of the table. The poor, as always, are getting poorer. And the middle class -- well they look a lot like the poor. But the Republicans have met the expectations of their leaders.

Posted by: Darby on January 6, 2011 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK



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