Dammit! One of my least favorite Members of Congress, Rep. Jim Nussle (R-Iowa) has done something admirable. How dare he make it harder for me to continue irrationally hating him?
Some background. Back in 1993, the House Republican Conference passed a rule requiring any member of the Republican leadership to resign from his or her position if indicted. This was a purely political move; at the time, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.), was under indictment on a variety of corruption charges (he was ultimately convicted of mail fraud), and was refusing to step down from the chairmanship. The GOP wanted to make the argument that corrupt public officials like Rosty should not be allowed to hold important positions within the House of Representative, so they passed the aforementioned rule, thus proving themselves to be champions of goodness and light, and the House Democrats to be disgusting sewer-dwelling filth-wallowers.
And speaking of disgusting sewer-dwelling filth-wallowers, the current House Majority Leader is Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who is currently under investigation by the Travis County District Attorney, and the odds are high that DeLay will be indicted fairly soon. (He was also "admonished" by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct three times in two weeks on unrelated charges of ethical misconduct.) So in one of the most staggeringly hypocritical acts in the history of politics, the House Republican Conference voted on Wednesday to rescind the rule, thus allowing the odious Mr. DeLay to keep his leadership position.
The new rule was adopted by voice vote, so no one knows for sure who voted for it. But some Members have admitted to voting against the rule, including Rep. Nussle. This was of course the right thing to do, but frankly I don't want my enemies to do the right thing. I want them to do the wrong thing, so I can continue disliking them. Redemption and forgiveness are all well and good, but they have no place in the political arena.
In case you were wondering, the reason I hate Jim Nussle is that I feel guilty about having in some small way helped him get elected to the House in the first place. Nussle was first elected to Congress in 1990, at which time I was registered to vote in Linn County, Iowa. Nussle was up against a Democrat, Eric Tabor, and an independent candidate, Jan Zonneveld, who just happened to be the father of one of my good friends. So I voted for Dick's dad. Nussle ended up winning by less than 1,642 votes, and I can't help but feel that if I had not sort of wasted my vote for sentimental reason, Nussle might have lost. Or, more likely, won by a smaller margin. Hey, I already said it was irrational.