David Manning Trivial Liars of the Month for March 2005

House Speaker Dennis Hastert

Eventually, and perhaps pretty soon, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's ethical "lapses" (a euphemism for "Ethics? What are ethics?") will knock him out of the GOP leadership and perhaps out of Congress altogether. In the meantime, he will remain an irritant to the Ethics Scoreboard because his schemes, scams, obfuscations and Machiavellian maneuverings create an almost daily quandary: is it time for yet another Tom DeLay article? But his continued tenure as the Least Ethical Republican Leader (which is like being the Most Clueless Democratic Leader) has the more serious side-effect of making DeLay's Congrssional allies look just as sleazy as he is. Thus poor Dennis Hastert has earned the title of March's Trivial Liar, and all in the misguided (and, it says here, ultimately futile) effort to keep the Texas Congressman from the fate he so richly deserves.

To pick up the thread of this sordid tale: DeLay's unethical shenanigans finally became too much to bear even for the somnolent House Ethics Committee, which admonished him on three clear violations last year. This prompted DeLay to get his party to sack the Committee's GOP chair, and to pack the committee with three DeLay cronies. But even that wasn't enough: the GOP leadership also rammed through a series of Committee rule changes to make it harder to bring down the Majority Leader on an ethics charge, though they chickened out of their most audacious change, elimination of the House rule that requires indicted party leaders to step down from their Congressional posts (a Texas DA is closing in on DeLay's campaign tricks.)

The Democrats, in the minority, couldn't do anything to stop all this; in fact, the GOP leadership drafted the new rules in secret, according to the Washington Post, without any Democratic input. So the Democrats have boycotted the Ethics Committee, essentially rendering it dead in the water (as opposed to its usual state which is swamped, loaded with bilge, and aimlessly drifting.)

Speaker Hastert's official response to this (let me get this out before I start giggling uncontrollably) was that it is an example of the Congressional Democrats unwillingness to "put the ethics process above partisan politics."

Having met the David Manning Trivial Lair criteria of generating a lie so obvious, silly, and pointless that nobody with two neurons firing could possibly believe it, Dennis Hastert is, beyond a doubt, a Trivial Liar. And Tom DeLay is definitely not worth it.

I'm going to start my giggling now…



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