One final thought on the DeLay Rule passed on Wednesday in the House GOP caucus.
The Republicans' argument for passing the DeLay Rule is that Travis County DA Ronnie Earle is on a partisan witch-hunt against DeLay and that all they're doing is taking steps to prevent Democrats from dictating the leadership of their caucus.
DeLay himself says that Earle is "trying to criminalize politics and using the criminal code to insert himself into politics." And to further this argument his lieutenants have enlisted members of the caucus to make various defamatory remarks about Earle. New York's Peter King calls him a "runaway prosecutor." (DeLay earlier called him a "''runaway district attorney''; so presumably King got it from him.) Henry Bonilla of Texas calls him a "partisan crackpot district attorney." There are many other examples.
So DeLay is getting members of the Republican caucus to accuse Earle of being an unethical district attorney and pursuing a prosecution to advance a political agenda.
Now, is there any evidence of that?
In Texas, the DAs are elected, not appointed. And Earle is a Democrat. Because his jurisdiction includes Austin, the state capital, his office runs the state's Public Integrity Unit, which gives him jurisidiction over this case. But that's the system in Texas. Earle's been in office since 1976. And his website lists various awards he's won that seem to show that he's held in high regard by fellow DAs. But of course, who knows what these awards mean?
The Times profiled Earle recently and this is the graf most revelant to our question ...
''The only people I antagonize more than Republicans are Democrats,'' Mr. Earle said later. He said the record showed he had prosecuted 12 Democratic officials and 4 Republican officials, although for much of his time in office, he acknowledged, Republicans were on the outs. ''We prosecute abuses of power,'' he said, ''and you have to have power to abuse it.''
So let's open it up. Does Earle have a history of more aggressively prosecuting Republicans than Democrats? Are there valid arguments that the indictments already handed down against the three DeLay aides are legally questionable? Or does Cong. DeLay just think he's above the law?