Tom DeLay

Can you criticize Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson without being accused of anti-Semitism?

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The sheer size of Sheldon Adelson's donations to Republican causes poses a real ethical quandary for Mitt Romney.

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A decade ago, when Congress was debating the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, better known as McCain-Feingold, the conservative alternative to its modest tightening of regulations on political spending bore the wonderful name DeLay-Doolittle. The name represented not just the two primary sponsors—then-Reps. Tom DeLay and John Doolittle—but also what the bill would do, or not.

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In advance of today’s primary, the Republican establishment has gone into overdrive to convince Florida voters that Newt Gingrich is a faux-conservative, ethically challenged has-been. The collective Republican panic has been fun to watch, not least because some of the GOP all-stars condemning Newt are best known for their own ethical lapses and heated rhetoric.

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Just when hardcore conservatives had seemed prepared to settle for Mitt Romney to avoid further exposure of intraparty divisions, Newt Gingrich’s unlikely recovery  has brought those divisions sharply and publicly into view. As Politico reported yesterday, conservative elites ranging from Tom Delay to Bob Dole have gone to the media en masse to warn voters of the perils of Newt. The Republican Party has rarely seemed more divided, and at the heart of those divisions is a disconnect between Republican elites and the voting base over the crucial issue of electability.

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David Brooks' column today appears dedicated to the proposition that other people should start criticizing Rick Perry: He does very well with the alternative-reality right — those who don’t believe in global warming, evolution or that Obama was born in the U.S. So, yes, it is time to take Perry seriously as a Republican nominee and even as a potential president. ... It’s more likely that sooner or later Romney is going to have to prove his own toughness by taking Perry on directly.

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“Being a jerk is not a felony”—this was the consensus among pundits within days of John Edwards’s indictment for violating campaign finance laws by inducing two political donors to pay the living expenses of his mistress, Rielle Hunter, and their child, while a former campaign aide posed as the child’s father. It’s still hard to absorb the magnitude of Edwards’s moral offense, and “jerk” hardly does it justice, but let’s assume that Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post, quoted above, and election law professor Rick Hasen are right that funneling money to a presidential candidate to cover up his

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Justice Delayed

Three years in prison for Tom DeLay. I bet he comes out of this advocating prison reform. It's a cause that badly needs more high-profile conservative advocates.

McCarthyism

In 2004, Fabian Núñez, then the Democratic speaker of the California State Assembly, received an odd phone call. It was the assembly’s sergeant at arms, reporting that Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader, was sitting at the speaker’s dais in an otherwise empty chamber. “Kevin McCarthy looks like he’s presiding, but there’s nobody in there,” the sergeant at arms told Núñez. Despite their political differences, Núñez and McCarthy were friends; both had been elected to the assembly in 2002 and had swiftly risen to the top posts in their respective conferences.

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Republicans are promising the change the way the House works if they win a majority.

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