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Friday, June 13, 2003
Good Krugman column today about DeLay:
Public images are funny things. Newt Gingrich became a famous symbol of Republican radicalism. By contrast, most people know little about Mr. DeLay, the House majority leader. Yet Mr. DeLay is more radical — and more powerful — than Mr. Gingrich ever was.
Maybe Mr. DeLay's public profile will be raised by his success yesterday in sabotaging tax credits for 12 million children. Those tax credits would cost only $3.5 billion. But Mr. DeLay has embedded the credits in an $82 billion tax cut package. That is, he wants to extort $22 in tax cuts (in the face of record budget deficits) for every dollar given to poor children.
Lotsa other good stuff in there, but my favorite part has to be this:
A telling anecdote: When an employee tried to stop Mr. DeLay from smoking a cigar on government property, the majority leader shouted, "I am the federal government."
Oh yeah? Well, I am...Kantian dualism! Hey kids, what abstraction are you?
Of course, then there's the ending:
There's no point in getting mad at Mr. DeLay and his clique: they are what they are. I do, however, get angry at moderates, liberals and traditional conservatives who avert their eyes, pretending that current disputes are just politics as usual. They aren't — what we're looking at here is a radical power play, which if it succeeds will transform our country. Yet it's considered uncool to point that out.
Is this just alarmism? I'm not sure. Certainly I'm very bothered by the seeming acceptability of the "bankrupt the government" position, and I have little doubt that DeLay would like to see a permanent Republican-dominated state--I just don't necessarily think that it will actually happen, given the Constitution and whatnot. I'm all for kicking DeLay's ass out of the Senate, though. (By electoral means, of course.)