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Flashback: How a Travis County DA Destroyed Tom Delay and Helped the Democrats Grab Congress

Back in 2005-2006, very few Republicans were willing to step up and deeply examine the case against then Rep. Tom Delay (R) in his battle with then Travis County DA Ronnie Earle (D). I hadn't yet moved back to Texas then, but I did cover that case for my old blog, Junkyardblog.

That blog is no longer with us, but Stephen Spruiell preserved part of one of my posts on that case at NRO.

There’s much more to the story, and I’m still working on it and am aware of another reporter who is as well, but for now just consider: DA Ronnie Earle has allowed this “filmmaker” inside his operation for two years. Earle’s operation has been seeking an indictment of DeLay for that entire time, and grand jury shopped as his first indictment fell apart and deadlines loomed. Now here we are: The first flimsy indictment, which didn’t even allege any specific actual crime had taken place, has fallen apart and that grand jury has dissolved. Grand jury #2 declined to indict. Grand jury #3 indicted,but based on evidence manufactured in Earle’s office. Without that evidence, it’s unlikely grand jury #3 would have indicted DeLay at all.

It’s clear that this isn’t a serious case and will not result in conviction. But it has resulted in a warrant for DeLay’s arrest. Should such an arrest be carried out, Earle’s indictment will result in a grand photo op as DeLay is probably marched in handcuffs, has his mug shot taken and is fingerprinted.

Which brings us back to Schermbeck, the “filmmaker.” What better way to end his anti-DeLay film, The Big Buy, than with that visual of Rep. Tom DeLay, until recently the majority leader in the US House of Representatives, with a number plate tucked under his chin? What better way to cast Republicans, enemies both of Earle and the far left agitator Jim Schermbeck, as corrupt than with that visual? And what better to get that visual than to abuse the power of a district attorney to make sure you have the opportunity to manufacture it?

I obviously got one big thing wrong in that post. I overestimated Travis County jurists. No one should repeat that mistake now. The case against Delay wasn't a serious case, but a Travis County jury did convict him anyway. That doesn't speak well of the county, and doesn't bode well for Gov. Perry.

Democrats went after Delay because he was a highly effective leader for the Republican Party. That was his "crime," and his only crime.

Democrats got their man in that case. They got him driven from office and destroyed his career, and used the kangaroo case against him to form a "culture of corruption" narrative against Republicans. And too many naive Republicans played along at the time. Earle's convictions of Delay were eventually thrown out, but the Democrats had used the "culture of corruption" narrative to capture Congress by then. We have Obamacare now in part because the Democrats used a corrupt case against an innocent man to snatch Congress.

Texas Democrats are being laughed at and mocked this week for the indictment of Gov. Rick Perry and for supporting that. They don't care and that won't slow them down.

The Texas Democrats are playing a longer game with this case. They want the mugshot, just like they wanted the Delay mugshot, for PR purposes. They are absolutely desperate to keep the Senate and hope Perry's indictment can disrupt what looks like a miserable election cycle for them, and they wanted to upset Texas politics as well. Wendy Davis is proving to be a poor instrument for that. They have essentially launched an attack on the king of Texas politics, but such an attack is risky -- if you strike at the king, you'd better kill him.

Using an indictment to get a mugshot for PR purposes an abuse of the legal system, but they don't care about that. They care about using the mugshot to smash a governor they could never defeat at the ballot box, and whose record refutes everything they believe in. Democrats in Texas have long called Perry "stupid" and other similar insults. Yet he has a perfect record against them. Even worse, he has helped hundreds, maybe thousands, of Democrats all over Texas understand that their party has left them and is no longer the party that their fathers and grandfathers supported. It's a hard left creature controlled by a few big-dollar activists and the Democratic National Committee.

The threat of conviction for Perry, despite the national rejection of the indictment against him, is unfortunately real. Travis County is too far gone politically for him to be able to receive a fair trial there. Too many of its residents have already convicted him, because they don't like him. The case ought to be tossed out, but if it is not, at a minimum Perry should get a change of venue to some other part of the state.