Thursday, September 29, 2005

Bush scandal?

The big news out of Washington yesterday was the Texas grand jury indictment of Tom Delay, Republican majority leader in the House of Representatives. What was interesting about most of the coverage here was the uniformity of media attempts to associate the scandal with Bush. Nearly every headline I saw identified Delay not by name, not by position, and not by title, but instead as someone associated with Bush.

The BBC: Bush ally faces criminal charge

The Independent: Bush ally indicted over campaign fraud charge

The Times: Bush's right-hand man resigns over illegal fundraising charge

The Guardian: House leader and Bush ally indicted on fundraising conspiracy charge

Only The Telegraph avoided framing the story as a Bush scandal: Congress leader quits over campaign fund charges.

Anyway, I've got no special interest in defending Delay, of whom I've never been a particular fan. But something you will probably not see in the UK - certainly there has been no indication of it yet - is any scrutiny of the the person who sought the indictment, which is unfortunate because he seems to have some interesting ideas about how to do his job.


Anonymous BC said...

I noticed this as well. Can yu imagine the BBC writing 'Charles Kennedy ally' or 'Blair ally faces charges?' erm no. And if pushed the BBC would say 'oh, the British public can't be expected to know who Tom Delay is, therefore we had to tag it to someone whom we continually degrade with our bias news output everyday' (well maybe not that last bit but you get the picture)

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

What strikes me as suspicious is the position of the district attorney in Texas, relative to this case. He's the DA for a county. This sort of thing, if it were real, would usually be handled by the state attorney general, I would think.

I saw this case discussed on a political news show recently, and the question was asked, "Doesn't this DA have something real? Wouldn't he look foolish if he had to drop the charges?" The response was that he's done this before, against Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. He got her indicted in the late 1990s, and ended up dropping the charges during the trial. He had nothing. He doesn't care about looking foolish in the eyes of the judicial system.

In the case against Delay, he brought the case before five different grand juries before he got an indictment. While it's apparently legal, it's a highly unusual practice. Yet, he's still the DA for his county. It seems to me he's someone who truly abuses his power. If he thinks you're his political enemy, he uses his office to embarrase you. It seems to me this case is a textbook example of a "prosecuter indicting a ham sandwich".

I don't know if this is typical across the country, but where I live the DA is elected. If this guy is in elected office as well, I'm surprised his constituents keep putting him back in.

Yes, the BBC's phraseology is interesting. He hasn't been called a "Bush ally" anywhere in the media here, best I can tell. In any case, he is a powerful figure in the federal government.

3:12 AM  

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