Monday, November 29, 2010

Tom "The Hammer" DeLay

 "What's a little pain when we can party?" 
Tom DeLay on Dancing With the Stars

Hammered: What Punishment Will Tom DeLay Get?

When my dad began taking an active interest in local politics in Fifties, he really  believed Republicans were more honest than Democrats. Based on the local party organizations of the era in Union County NJ, he probably had some reason for the belief. The only Republican county organization in the state with a rep for serious corruption was  the one in Atlantic County built by "Nucky" Johnson & run by a powerful state senator named "Hap" Farley, a Johnson protege. During the Farley era, you couldn't pick a copy of Atlantic City Press without seeing his name & often his photo  somewhere on the front page. Farley sponsors bill. Farley meets with Governor. Farley goes to Washington. Farley attends banquet.

By the time dad began losing interest in local politics - he had gotten  into  Revolutionary War reenacting -  I think he had been largely disabused of his  notion.  He never abandoned Richard Nixon, but he didn't like the guys around Nixon. He was totally disgusted when a major Republican politician in Jersey, Nelson Gross, was convicted of perjury & fraud for involvement in illegal campaign contributions. Gross went to prison for a few years, continued to profit in private business, (his life came to a tragic end in 1997 when he was robbed & murdered by three teenagers).

In the Fifties, Southern politics were still Democratic, & were  corrupt & virulently racist (Although many hid behind "populism").  Then came the Southern Strategy in Repug politics,  which produced sleazeballs like  Texas Tom DeLay. I wonder what dad would have thought of him? I don't know. My Republican relatives have just gotten screwier right along with their screwy party. They can't explain to me how Barack Obama is more liberal than Lyndon Johnson.

Who's in the picture?
Tom & Christine
Didja know that Nelson Gross lost the 1970 Senate election to Harrison Williams, who would also go down in flames a few years later as part of ABSCAM?
Yep. Even knew a bartender at Gross's ferryboat restaurant, although I never went there. He has a good story about the night the lobsters got loose.
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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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