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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


History lessons free

I can only imagine what the final costs for legal fees will be when all is tallied at the end of the “take Tom DeLay off the ballot” or “keep Tom DeLay on the ballot” fracas is over. Trying to make heads or tails of the various reams of published arguments put forth by the Republicans and Democrats is best left to the legal minds entrusted with this duty. In other words, for those of us who don’t talk “lawyer,” some of the arguments really look like conflicting mumbo jumbo. One thing for sure is that anyone reading these novels of legal jargon will have a free history lesson.

Now, I am not sure that the history lesson would pass classroom muster but it is interesting. Researchers went back over 200 years to determine the “intent” of those who drew up the U.S. Constitution. So, I am really not sure if the opinion of a modern lawyer can really determine the intent of fellows who wore funny white wigs and probably never in a million years could envision where this country was headed politically. But the reading is interesting to say the least.

The expectations of what the appeals court will do seem to be about 70-30, with about 70 percent of the folks I have discussed this with (both Republican and Democrat) feeling the court will side with the district judge’s opinion and thus DeLay will remain on the ballot, and the remaining 30 percent feeling that the court will overturn the decision and allow the Republican Party to choose a replacement candidate, put his or her name on the ballot and let the voters decide.

Since the ratio above results from simple casual conversation, it cannot be deemed an official poll. In fact it doesn’t even come close to an official straw hat poll, but it is interesting to consider that Tom DeLay may well be forced to run for office by the Democrats. Let’s face it, for nearly 20 years the Democrats have been trying to take old Tom down, unsuccessfully. And now it is the Democrats who want to face him in a modern day stand off at the polls.

Some say DeLay could not possibly come up with enough funds to launch a competitive campaign since he has spent a good share of his war chest on legal bills. I think those saying that forget Tom is known as the “hammer” and that name didn’t come from hanging a photo on the wall. It came from hammering his viewpoints across to fellow legislators and from repeated successful campaign fund raising on behalf of himself and the party he represents. So, I think, regardless of Tom’s allegedly tainted reputation, pending legal woes in Travis County—and possibly higher—he would most likely manage to fund a re-election bid.

Whether or not he has lost favor with the party is another story entirely. I didn’t say Tom would win, I said he could most likely raise the money to run a full-scale campaign. I have a feeling though that he might just pull it off if he is forced to run and decides to actively enter the political arena once again. If that would happen we would be guaranteed another four years of allegations, indictments, court appearances and more allegations. Have you noticed how quiet everything has been since he took himself out of the limelight? Well, count on it coming back if he launches a bid for re-election.

No matter which side of the fence you are sitting on, this is political shenanigans at its finest. And, no matter how disgusted you are at all of the game playing and legal maneuvering that has resulted from Tom’s silly decision to run for office; then resign; move to Virginia, keep his home in Sugar Land; announce he will not seek re-election; hint that he might just throw his hat back in the arena if forced to by the Democrats — you have to admit this has certainly kept the average voter interested in the election process during the months between a primary and general election.

Normally, as a rule, people opt to go to Disneyland or the beach during the summer months and political candidates are the last thing on their minds. With gas prices soaring and families opting to have backyard barbecues instead of a trip, there may be more voters watching nightly news and reading newspapers. And with reality TV taking over every possible channel, this situation could top Trading Spouses and Survivor. In fact, all things considered, it might just be the most interesting, entertaining and educational event this summer.


Contact skinnerc1@ev1.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  September 07, 2006