Break the ethics truce!

Time to start to squeeze the House Republicans on the DeLay question.

Looks as if the rats are starting to desert the U.S.S. DeLay. And I’m glad to hear Rahm Emmanuel talking tough.

But how about some action? In particular, how about offering a motion to expel, and making the Republicans vote for or against considering it? The idea that the Congress should defer to the criminal process in judging its members’ misconduct is a Constitutional travesty; the primary responsibility for the integrity of the House rests with the House.

As long as the Democrats on the Hill maintain the “ethics truce,” its going to be hard to make the Republican sleazemobile a central issue this November. If the DeLay/Abramoff/Norquist/Rove plot is really a menace to republican government, why aren’t our leaders acting appropriately?

As Lincoln said, “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.”

Or, as Michael Corleone says in the first Godfather movie, when it’s time to go to the mattresses, you need a wartime consigliere. Yes, if we broke the truce we’d probably lose some of our own incumbents to Republican “ethics payback.” That’s life in the big city.

In the disgusting but accurate words of Vince Lombardi, “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” Right now, the Democrats on the Hill are acting like good losers.

Update More here.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com