Tom DeLay, Hammer No More
He used to be known as the Hammer, for running the House of Representatives with a iron fist. Nowadays, though, former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) is Mr. Congeniality.
According to folks who were there, DeLay couldn't have been sweeter to his former Democratic enemies at a small political book fair on Capitol Hill this week sponsored by The Hill newspaper. ('Course, being an author and trying to hawk books can turn even the snarliest of partisan pitbulls into a party-blind kitten.)
The first odd sign came when the Man Formerly Known as the Hammer gave a copy of his book, "No Retreat, No Surender: One American's Fight" to Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.). That would be the Kennedy who filed a RICO lawsuit against DeLay back in 2000, alleging the Hammer's fund-raising activities violated the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
As if that weren't enough to make one wonder if there may truly be a bipartisanship conspiracy afoot, DeLay yucked it up and chummed around and traded books with Terry McAuliffe, an icon of the Democratic Party and campaign chairman for Democratic presidential frontrunner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).
According to an eyewitness at the authors' schmoozefest (the event drew very few book buyers), McAuliffe signed a copy of his book "What A Party!" to DeLay with the inscription: "My favorite right-wing nut. Keep up the fight and get ready for President Hillary Clinton."
DeLay, the former House majority leader who resigned amid a federal corruption investigation and under indictment in Texas, signed a copy of his book to McAuliffe, saying, "I bet we win in the end."
And, oddly enough, the organizers of Wednesday's book fair put DeLay, a devout Christian, next to journalist Christopher Hitchens, author of the runaway bestseller "God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything."
But even those two hit it off, finding common ground on their passion for fighting Islamofacism (or waging the "war on terror" as it used to be commonly called before the phrase fell out of fashion). "These colors don't run!" the British-born Hitchens shouted several times, though without a convincingly red-white-and-blue Americana accent.
Discussion of God's involvement in blessing the troops and the flag was studiously avoided. Instead, Hitchens advised DeLay on people and places to visit during Mr. Congeniality's planned trip to London next month.
Also assiduously avoided: talk of the ongoing Jack Abramoff public corruption probe, whose tentacles have reached deep into the DeLay Inc. operation, ensnaring several former top DeLay aides, including the former chief of staff to the former Hammer.
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