17 November 2004

Why the Good Lord Made Your Eyes:

Tom Lehrer fans know why. And it appears to have happened—or at least accusations of such have been made—in an area of publishing that, in reality, has been rife with plagiarism since its beginnings: the kiss-and-tell-based "exposé" of a famous person, usually a politician or leading entertainer. This is one of the more-worthless areas of publishing (admittedly, that includes just about anything else about "celebrities," but still…)—one that really ought to be left to the National Enquirer et al. and perhaps The Onion.

On the other hand, some members of the House want to turn a blind eye on the potential indictment of Tom DeLay by a grand jury in Texas. Under existing House rules, he would be required to resign his leadership position as Majority Leader upon indictment—a relic of the Rostenkowski fracas. Some House members appear to be proposing that this rule be softened or eliminated, because they believe that the particular grand jury proceeding is "politically motivated." To which I answer: So what? This is called "separation of powers," people; one does not ignore another branch's proceedings merely because they might be politically motivated. Given Mr DeLay's recent ethics problems in the House itself, I cannot so easily dismiss a grand jury proceeding as completely unjustified. And, in any event, it seems to me that an individual that closely identified with one of the most outrageous partisan gerrymanders in recent memory has no grounds to complain about purportedly "partisan" activity against him/her. Sauce for goose = sauce for gander (my obligatory Thanksgiving culinary reference). There's just something about the institutionalized arrogance of Texas politicians—is it something in the water? it's not partisan—that really pisses me off. Too many believe that the rules are for somebody else: LBJ; Jim Wright; John Tower; the list goes on. You set the rules; then you live by them in elected office. That's what the rule of law, and democracy, are about.