April 05, 2006

VIA HOWARD KURTZ I see that Andrew Sullivan was slamming me for "barely mentioning" Tom Delay's resignation. Well, here's what I said:

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), the House Republicans' number-one fixer and enforcer, has announced that he will give up his seat. DeLay is under investigation on charges of campaign finance violations, but I'm happy to see him leave for other reasons: He was the architect of the Republicans' "K Street strategy" - a program of incorporating lobbyists and interest groups into the process of governance - that has been disastrous for Republican ideals.

DeLay's defenders say that the K Street strategy is merely a reprise of what Democrats have been doing for decades, and they have a point. But Democrats are supposed to be the party of Big Government. Republicans are not, and the K Street strategy has led to a serious abandonment of their principles. (DeLay lost me back before the scandals broke, when he pronounced, inexplicably, that there was no fat left to cut in the federal budget.) I don't have much hope that DeLay's departure will do much tug the GOP back toward its principles, but it can't hurt.

"Silence?" You decide. I will confess, though, that I don't care about the story very much. I care about issues more than people, and Tom DeLay has never been much of an issues guy. He's always been a backroom guy, a fixer (that's where he differs from, say, Newt Gingrich, with whom he's being compared now). As Mickey Kaus notes, those traits can come in handy. But guys like that are pretty replaceable. To the extent that DeLay stood for anything, though, it was the win-at-any-cost, outdo-the-Democrats-in-pork mentality that I think is bad for the country and, for that matter, the Republicans. I can see how people stories like this are a bigger deal to inside-the-beltway types who actually knew DeLay and who followed his activities more closely than I do, but just as I never felt any particular urge to defend DeLay, I don't think his departure matters all that much either.

UPDATE: Reader John Barton agrees: "Andrew Sullivan looking for DeLay commentary reflects his DC location. From inside the beltway itís a big deal. I suspect that for the rest of the world outside the beltway itís never been a very interesting subject. I never liked DeLay, wish there were fewer like him, Iím glad to see him go, and thatís about the end of it." Indeed.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Jim Miller emails:

Glenn, its also quite possible that Sully meant comments on your blog and hadn't seen your other short comment in Guardian Unlimited.

I personally don't recall your spending much time defending Delay, so I'm not sure why you were required to dance on his grave, despite its being fairly big news.

Sullivan's larger point is not unreasonable, that the right side of the blogosphere would prefer to "move on" and not dwell on the matter. I think it can be easy for people to forget that its not like you are happy with the Republicans; you just are VERY unhappy with the Democrats.

Good points all. However, the "right side" of the blogosphere contains plenty of people who aren't at all happy with the DeLay approach to politics and governance. Sullivan's tendency to lump 'em all together says more about his approach to blogging and politics than it does about the people he's describing.

MORE STILL: Gerald Montaigne emails: "It appears that Sullivan chooses the subjects that you are supposed to be blogging about. For the life of me, I don't understand why he persists in the belief that you have some larger responsibility to the blogosphere and a lack of comments on your part constitutes proof positive of... well whatever point Sullivan is trying to make at the time, I guess."

Perhaps I should put up a post calling him a racist because he doesn't blog about Darfur as much as I do. But in truth, I never give any thought to the question of what Sullivan isn't blogging about, and I think it rather odd that he spends so much time on the question of what I'm not blogging about.