and I both wanted to let Texas readers see two differing opinions on Tom DeLay
's resignation, and the possible outcomes.
Here's A Liberal's Thoughts:
Tom DeLay's Stunning Announcement: What Will The Aftermath Bring?
Though the media continues to examine the "whys" related to Tom DeLay's recent announcment that he will end his campaign for another term in Congress and resign from that body, the real question on the minds of most people in Texas isn't why DeLay did what he did. It is, rather, what the aftermath of the announcement will bring.
I suspect two things: First, that any coming special election will be an expensive, multi-candidate battle. I would not be surprised to see five or more total candidates vying for the seat. Second, I don't believe that DeLay's impending departure from the political scene will truly make a difference in whether or not Democrats win in CD-22 or in other districts around the nation where DeLay allies are being hounded because of their connections to the indicted soon-to-be-former Congressman.
It is already rumored that the field to replace DeLay will include candidates ranging from now independent former conservative Republican Congressman Steve Stockman to the mayor of Sugar Land and State Senator Kyle Janek. A bloody special election battle (including a likely special election runoff) will leave whomever the winner is bloodied, bruised and vunerable going into the November elections.
Why do I think this will not make a difference for Lampson in CD-22 or others? Because, just as the Republican Party continues to tie Democratic candidates to the shenigans of Bill Clinton, Texas Republicans of the present political era will not be able to wiggle out from under the mantle of being the party of DeLay for years to come. Whomever among them that attempts to assume DeLay's seat (and there are rumors that a hand-picked successor exists), they will have to spend more time proving they aren't made in the DeLay mold than they will spend expounding upon their own ideas.
DeLay very well may have made his decision to resign in an attempt to thwart Lampson's campaign. In fact, he probably timed it in order to have the maximum negative impact on Lampson: funding three election day campaigns is far more expensive than just paying for a general election campaign. But, though the district does lean Republican, it has become clear that the people in Congressional District 22 want new leadership. And, by new leadership, I don't mean another Republican. DeLay and his party have proved to the residents of this District (and, indeed, to everyone in the nation) that they are not effective leaders and that their entire party is tainted by a "culture of corruption" not seen on either side of the aisle since the days of Watergate.
Will Lampson have a tougher time against another candidate? Perhaps. However, all he must do is effectively coin his new opponent as DeLay's successor, and do everything he can to paint him or her as a continuation of the "same old, same old," DeLay machine.
No matter how pristine the replacement player for DeLay may be, he will have difficulty recovering from having his photo side-by-side with DeLay's in dozens of mailers and television ads—especially if DeLay shares some of his million-dollar campaign warchest with the new nominee. If there is one thing that can taint a DeLay successor faster than anything, it's money. Any dollar from DeLay, and indeed any dollar from major DeLay contributors, can be used to Democrats' advantage.
It will be a slippery slope for both parties leading up to November. But, I believe, in the wake of the DeLay departure, Democrats can and will prevail.