House Majority Leader Tom Delay of Texas walks to a Republican meeting on Capitol Hill after making a statement on his indictment, September 28, 2005. (AP/Lauren Victoria Burke)
Texas Republican Congressman Tom DeLay -- the House Majority Leader -- left his leadership post this week after being indicted on charges of conspiring to break election laws. DeLay says he is innocent, but he is the first House leader to be indicted while in office in at least a century. Joining us to discuss the DeLay case is John Fund who covers Capitol Hill and writes for OpinionJournal.com.
"The Democrats are clearly making ethics the centerpiece of their campaign against Republicans. How serious is this indictment for Tom DeLay, and for the Republicans on Capitol Hill?"
"It is serious for the Republicans on Capitol Hill if it plays into a larger theme the Democrats are trying to make, that the Republicans are in power for themselves, to self-aggrandize and to ignore the legitimate wishes of the people. If Bill Frist, for example, were to get into more trouble with his SEC filing, which I don't think will happen, this could become a theme."
"I think there was a big feeling that the Republicans in the House in particular had become very focused on incumbency, on spending money to get re-elected. The best thing that could come for this for the Republicans would be that they use this now as an opportunity to get back on track and get focused."
"I think Tom DeLay's problems remind me of the Roman senate, where when an enemy reached a certain level of grandiosity they simply had to be eliminated. And Tom DeLay, has been, as they call him, 'the hammer,' so tough on the Democrats. He has instilled discipline in the Republican party, he has raised tens of millions of dollars for the Republican party. He had become a real thorn in the side of the Democrats. They had to figure out a way to bring him down and they're doing it."