An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Government: of the people, by the people, for the GOP

Look, I admire Tom Delay's (R-TX) skill at building and leading the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. His skill at counting and, more importantly, making votes happen the way he wants is to be admired, and his willingness to go whole hog to grow his majority is something any wannabe had best learn from.

As you are probably aware, his recent attempt at redistricting the GOP into about 5 new House seats in Texas, while temporarily stalled by the walkout of Democrats in the legislature, looks like it may still happen.

Today's topic is not this blatant grab at power which seems legal, rational, and even like something one wishes one had thought of.

When some 53 members of the Texas House of Representatives went on the lamb to Oklahoma, the Republican Speaker used law enforcement to try to get them back so that a quorum could be had and redistricting done. Now, while the use of law enforcement might be questionable, the more salient point for civil libertarians and good government types everywhere is that apparently someone called the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to request assistance.

While OnBackground hesitates to ascribe actions or words to people without firm evidence, some have suggested that Delay or other Texas Republicans gave DHS the impression that they needed help searching for a potential accident. Although DHS has now investigated and exonerated itself, questions cannot but remain on how state resources are used for private or political ends.

"It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error."

Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954), U.S. judge.
American Communications Association v. Douds, May 1950.