It’s obviously a rhetorical question, since there’s apparently no limit to the shamelessness of the party currently in power. But today’s article (“House GOP Protect Leader”) in the Washington Post, citing that the House is about to change the rules to allow members who have been indicted by state prosecutors–to wit, Tom DeLay, if there’s any justice in the world–to remain in a leadership post, plumbs new depths. The reason House Republicans want to allow Mr. DeLay to retain his leadership position, should he be indicted in Texas? Because “DeLay led an aggressive redistricting effort in Texas last year that resulted in five Democratic House members retiring or losing reelection”:
“That’s why this [proposed rule change] is going to pass…. because there is a tremendous recognition that Tom DeLay led on the issue to produce five more seats in our majority,” [chief deputy whip Rep. Eric I. (R-Va.)] Cantor said after emerging from a meeting in which the Republican Conference welcomed new members and reelected Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and DeLay as its top leaders.
So who cares if you’ve engaged in unethical or criminal activities; as long as they’re in pursuit of partisan political gain, you’re to be rewarded rather than held accountable. Note, too, that it was the House Republicans who set forth the rule in the first place, in 1993, requiring that indictment by any grand jury meant a party leader must surrender his/her seat.
[Update 2004-11-17: And they don’t disappoint; today The Washington Post reports that they passed the rules change.]