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Dry Bones cartoon - The Ticking Iranian Time Bomb
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX 22) 

Memories Of The Hammer  
Cleaning up Congress without DeLay.

-- Jeff Hauser and Joe Magid

One of the co-authors of the GOP's unlikely strategy to develop a strong relationship between the radical right and the Jewish community has been the rather ethically challenged Tom DeLay. (Ironically, potential Patrick Fitzgerald target Karl Rove is the other co-author.)

We wanted to take an opportunity upon his departure from Congress to remind our readers of some of DeLay's "greatest hits" racked up as he served a pivotal role helping lead the right wing revolution in the US House of Representatives.

  • DeLay expressed the wonderfully tolerant sentiment that, "Christianity offers the only viable, reasonable, definitive answer to the questions of 'Where did I come from?', 'Why am I here?', 'Where am I going?', 'Does life have any meaningful purpose?"

    It's wonderful to know that Jews -- or Muslims, Hindus, or any of the many patriotic Americans (including many who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country while serving in Iraq and elsewhere) who embrace creeds other than Christianity -- are incapable of reason on important issues in the eyes of arguably the most important Republican member of Congress.
  • Perhaps because he questions the ability of Jews and others to reason well, DeLay advocates supporting candidates not based on their political ideas, but their religion. DeLay told a Christian pro-Israel rally that, "This is the week you put people in office who stand for everything we believe in and stand unashamedly with Jesus Christ."
  • DeLay's reckless partisanship on matters of deep concern to the state of Israel have imperiled the bipartisan consensus on behalf of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship -- a consensus carefully built by generations of American Jews.

While we're looking at this unsavory, now former, Representative from Texas, we'd also like to bring to your attention elements of the recently unveiled platform of the Texas Republican Party. Among the choice tidbits to be found in the document is the following from the preamble:

We believe that human life is sacred, created in the image of God. Life begins at the moment of fertilization and ends at the point of natural death. All innocent human life must be protected.

And, in case there is any doubt as to where the Texas GOP is headed with this, the document includes the following gems under the heading Promoting Individual Freedom and Personal Safety

Safeguarding Our Religious Liberties ? We affirm that the public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity and strength as a nation. We pledge to exert our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and dispel the myth of the separation of church and state.

Christian Nation? America is a Christian nation, founded on Judeo-Christian principles. We affirm the constitutional right of all individuals to worship in the religion of their choice.

The Texas GOP along with Ann Coulter in her book Godless: The Church of Liberalism thus converts Jews into Christians with a stroke of the pen. "I often refer to Christians and Christianity because I am a Christian and I have a fairly good idea of what they believe, but the term is intended to include anyone who subscribes to the Bible of the God of Abraham, including Jews and others."

It seems that just as right-wing fundamentalist Christians are so easily able to ascribe the particular translation of biblical texts they've adopted as the unaltered word of God, the leadership of the Texas GOP can similarly mind read back in time, in direct contradiction to the many explicit statements of the Constitution's primary author, Mr. Jefferson.

While we wish Tom DeLay a hearty "Good riddance," we also note that there is much work to be done to counter the legacy he leaves behind.

Jeff Hauser is the political director of the National Jewish Democratic Council

Joe Magid is the treasurer of Grassroots for America