DeLay’s Secret: Pizza and Birthday Wishes

Has Tom DeLay, “like Bill Clinton before him, …defied political gravity in recent months”? That’s the strange claim in today’s New York Times.

As far as we can tell, DeLay’s support has been dropping like a hammer (pardon the pun, we’re still excited over Wednesday’s big victory). According to one national poll, “a majority of Americans surveyed, 59.5%, suggest that Congressman Tom DeLay should resign from his position as House Majority Leader.”

So, how does the Times explain DeLay’s supposed political “success”? Why have Washington conservatives stuck by his side?

The reason, it seems, is that over the years, brick by brick, Mr. DeLay has built a wall of political support. His small acts of kindness have become lore. Pizza during late night votes. Travel arrangements for low-level lawmakers. Birthday wishes, get-well cards, condolences for House members in emotional need.

Pizza and birthday wishes? Suurrre. I think I’ll go with Door #2, courtesy of Josh Marshall:

The truth is (and anybody who covers the Hill knows this) that [DeLay’s] corruption has seeped all through the House…

There’s a reason they call it the DeLay machine. It’s not just DeLay. It’s a system of organized corruption that many, many [conservative] members of the House have benefited from.