Tom DeLay, the Clintons and the Irony of Bygones
Nine years ago, Tom DeLay led the charge to impeach the 42nd president of the United States. But that was then, and this is now, when the mighty have fallen and irony knows no bounds. (And when two former enemies are hell bent on knocking off the same GOP presidential candidate.)
On Thursday, DeLay, the former conservative firebrand from Texas, is due to speak to students at the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas about the 2008 Republican presidential nomination and his book, "No Retreat, No Surrender: One American's Fight" - a chunk of which chronicles the impeachment saga.
They may as well dub his lecture "Irony 101." Though it doesn't appear that DeLay plans to discuss such unpleasantness.
You can bet, however, that DeLay, who was forced to resign in 2006 amid a money-laundering indictment in Texas and a federal public corruption investigation, will continue taking swipes at his least favorite GOP presidential candidate: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Remember, it was McCain who helped crush the DeLay machine with his Senate committee investigation into the Jack Abramoff scandal. Hence, all the bitter rhetoric.
While it's hard to fathom the notion of Tom DeLay being welcome at any entity associated with "HillBilly," as DeLay calls Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, there's really no better forum for McCain bashing than in Billaryland. McCain is, after all, the GOP candidate they fear most.
An email alert sent from the Clinton School says DeLay will be speaking about the '08 Republican presidential primary. Summarizing his bio, the school notes DeLay was elected to the House in 1984, rose to become minority whip and ultimately the majority leader. "He resigned his seat in 2006 after being indicted in Texas on conspiracy charges to violate election laws in a case that is still pending," the email says.
As you may have guessed, there is no mention of the "I" word or DeLay's role in it. Instead, the email notice mentions another more innocuous, yet geographically relevant, portion of the so-called Hammer's memoirs.
"In the book," goes the email, "DeLay briefly discusses moving at age five to Mount George, Ark., where his family owned a farm and raised chickens."
A source familiar with the speech says the Hammer, as he was known in the House, will also discuss "what HillBilly is capable of doing to secure" the Democratic nomination.
The irony of the venue for the speaking engagement isn't lost on DeLay and Co. DeLay spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty quipped, "I'm hearing Hillary's hoping this speech will distract Bill from hijacking her campaign." (To which we thought, "Too late!")
Flaherty promises plenty of fireworks for those of you looking for a reason to fly to Little Rock: "I don't think anyone will be caught snoozing at this event."
(For the record, DeLay won't be the first unlikely conservative guest to speak at the Clinton school, as you can see here).
Mary Ann Akers
January 28, 2008; 10:20 AM ET
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