Lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleads guilty to at least three charges, and will apparently cooperate with federal investigators to nail some twenty-odd Congressfolk, at least a few of whom are presumed to be Democrats.
But that's not what I mean by "bad news for Tom DeLay"! Ha ha ha ha! I am such a trickster! No, the bad news for Tom DeLay is that he's in such big trouble to begin with. This is late-breaking news, obviously -- I could have undertaken the brief analysis I'm about to describe over thirteen months ago -- but it's nonetheless instructive. You may recall that DeLay got 55% of the vote in his 2004 re-election bid, an unusually low number for a ten-term incumbent. You may also recall that DeLay explained this low figure by pointing to the Texas state legislature's redistricting in 2004, undertaken expressly for the purpose of generating more Republican seats in the House of Representatives. He suggested that when you create more Republican districts, you necessarily dilute the Republican districts that had been delivering supermajorities to Republican candidates, so that although more Republicans win, they'll all have lower tallies.
That sounds like a reasonable explanation for Tom DeLay's 55%, right? Sure it does. But the facts often obliterate even Tha Bush Mobb's most reasonable assertions, and so it goes with this one as well. Looking up Texas's Congressional delegation, I found that out of 20 Texas Republicans not named Tom DeLay, only one -- one! -- finished with a smaller percentage of the popular vote in their districts than DeLay did in his. And that fellow, Rep. Pete Sessions, garnered 54% of the popular vote in Texas's 32nd district against a twelve-term Democratic incumbent whose district disappeared beneath him, whereas Tom DeLay ran against a complete unknown. All four first-term Republicans did better than DeLay (although Ted Poe -- who ran against Nick Lampson, another Democratic incumbent whose district disappeared beneath him -- came close to DeLay, getting 56% of the vote in Texas's 2nd distict).
So, while Jack Abramoff might be able to sink Tom DeLay, I think that boat's already taking a lot of water.